Sunday, February 24, 2013

Astrium Services survey says more seafarers want, need Internet connectivity at sea

Astrium Services has just released the results of a recent crew communications survey. According to the survey, a growing number of seafarers consider on-board Wi-Fi connectivity to be indispensable. They are even willing to pay for connectivity so that they can access social media and other popular web destinations on their mobile devices -smartphones, tablets, and laptops- while travelling aboard maritime vessels.

Astrium Services commissioned the Crew Communications 2012 Survey in order to obtain the latest data data on crew communications requirements. Stark Moore McMillan served as the Company's consultants during the survey.

The survey investigated the availability of communications for crew during the third and fourth quarters of 2012. It questioned 960 Filipino seafarers, of 88 percent of whom where general crew and the rest being officers.

According to the survey, 68% of seafarers are now able to use some form of communication service most or all of the time when at sea. In addition, nearly the entire crew can use the shipboard SATCOM system to make voice calls on occasion.

More and more seafarers are requiring access to data communications these days. The survey white paper opines that owners will experience greater success in recruiting and retaining crew if they provide free or low-cost Internet access aboard their ship through broadband connectivity and Wi-Fi connections.

In addition, the survey notes that there is a growing deficit in qualified officers since 2005. To both increase their chances of recruiting from the limited pool of talent and improve staff loyalty, shipping companies need to offer strong crew welfare packages that include connectivity.

Fortunately, hybrid networks with VSAT and MSS can now provide reliable, cost-effective connectivity required by shifting patterns of communication usage. Satellite communications makes it easier for shipping companies to provide such connectivity.

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