Q2 2020: How Happy Are You About Contact With Family

  • 6.53 down from 6.81

There has been an almost constant clamour and demand from seafarers for as cheap and high-quality access to the Internet as possible. This has become even more important to crews as they have been unable to leave vessels for shore leave or to go on leave.

Access to communication is absolutely pivotal to the state of mind of crews. Those who have access, as we have stated in many reports previous, are far happier than those who do not. This pattern has remained, but the gap between the “haves”, “have intermittently” and the “have nots” becomes even more marked.

There is no equivocation from seafarers, the message is crystal clear – online access is fundamental to life at sea today. Some may not like that and bemoan the fact that connectivity chips away at the social fabric of the vessel, but the seafarers do not see it that way. Internet access is not what keeps people in their cabins, it is the lack of social life onboard – the cabin retreat is a symptom not the cause.

Time and time again the quotes we received were about how the internet was a lifeline. “Life without internet sucks” was one quote which seemed to capture the mood as well as any.

There was also enormous relief from those who can access online services, especially as the uncertainty of crew change has thrown many routines awry. Seafarers commented that they were able to perform key administration tasks, both work and personal, thanks to online access.

They were able to change banking instructions, to update and renew documents, to keep abreast of news, as well as being able to stay in touch with home. The problems of being trapped onboard were mitigated by access to the internet and calls.

For those who could be in touch with home, then the crew change crisis felt eased slightly. At least they could talk, plan, console and support their families. There was praise and thanks for the shipping companies who had increased data or call limits. For those without, or with limited access sadly this only heightened the tension, worry, stress and upset.

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