The ‘Navigating Connectivity While at Sea’ session brought together renowned industry experts including Senior Vice President Market Strategy at Inmarsat Maritime, Drew Brandy, Managing Director at IEC Telecom Middle East, Nabil Ben Soussia, Marine Superintendent for Mercan Group, Gürkan Büyüktelli, and Rashid Isa Rishi Al Heddi, Group Managing Director of Seamaster Maritime.
Brandy opened the session presenting outcomes of a new Royal Holloway University of London study commissioned by Inmarsat and the Sailors’ Society that draws on the availability of communications tools and its impact on crew behaviour, self-esteem, wellbeing and even productivity.
“Access to onboard connectivity is increasingly becoming a deciding factor in whether young and talented individuals want to spend their lives at sea, and whether shipping companies are able to retain experienced and high qualified seafarers. The benefits of equipping crew extend far beyond social media, this is about empowering people to be more efficient, more balanced and better employees,” he commented.
Ben Soussia focused on striking the balance between maintaining crew welfare and corporate goals and cost-effectiveness.
“Maritime companies today acknowledge that onboard connectivity is linked directly to seafarer welfare as well as business productivity. As such, the challenge is to balance the two well while maintaining budgetary control at all times. Our solutions like OneGate Maritime are designed to meet all of these requirements,” Ben Soussia said.
OneGate Maritime meets the dual requirements of onboard connectivity for crew welfare as well as for corporate use allowing tight control over budgets and crew allocations.
Meanwhile Büyüktelli from the Mercan Group presented the benefits of unlimited internet access to ship management with insights from end-users on different challenges and opportunities.
“Equipping crew with the right tools including onboard connectivity is about empowering them to do their jobs more effectively as well as helping them stay in control of their lives. Connectivity is about more than just web-browsing or access to social media; it’s about providing support for problem-solving, remote diagnostics or telemedicine as well as opportunities for continuous learning,” he explained.