New survey from ICS and ECSA paints positive picture for seafarer internet access
A new survey from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) reveals that not only is internet access for seafarers for personal use on board ships more widespread and available than previously imagined, but also that the positive benefits associated with this access outweigh the feared safety concerns around the technology.
The responses to the survey carried out by ICS and ECSA, with support from the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA), indicate that the provision of internet access to seafarers for personal use may have improved the mental health and well-being of seafarers (according to 60% of respondents) and the morale of seafarers in the company (according to 69% of respondents). 82% of those organisations who responded provide internet access to seafarers for personal use. Despite industry concerns that internet access may negatively impact upon seafarers obtaining adequate rest and sleep during periods available for rest, 85% of these companies reported that this has been unaffected or improved. Similarly, whilst there have also been concerns expressed as to whether internet access may negatively or positively impact upon the work performance of seafarers, 96% of companies reported that this has not deteriorated.
In addition the majority of companies reported that the number of incidences of seafarers seeking assistance due to family or home-related anxieties have stayed the same, despite speculation that increased communications with family might generate more anxieties about problems ashore. On another positive note, the vast majority of companies (93%) responded that the number of reported incidences of online bullying and harassment have not increased, despite speculation that greater internet access might expose seafarers to this behaviour.
The responses indicate that the two primary reasons for not providing internet to seafarers are concerns about the costs involved (68%) and concerns about the potential impact on rest/sleep (60%).
The survey on the provision of internet access to seafarers for personal use on board ships received responses by 276 operators with 11,665 ships, representing 14% of the world fleet, with a profile of respondents closely reflecting that of the world fleet.