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North P&I Club stresses importance of internet in crew retention Featured

Tony Baker, loss prevention director, North P&I Club Tony Baker, loss prevention director, North P&I Club

North P&I Club in the UK is encouraging its shipowner members to consider the importance of internet access on their ships to ensure they continue to attract, recruit and retain high quality crews, as part of a campaign by North to help its members get the ‘right crew’ that is highlighted in the club’s Signals newsletter.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}“Like most other people today, seafarers expect to have 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to a good quality internet service,” said head of loss prevention Tony Baker.

“Engaging with friends and family and maintaining relationships via social media is now seen as the norm. In a competitive market for officers and crew, shipowners therefore need to do everything they can to provide good connectivity at sea.”

“The importance seafarers place on internet access, and how that affects their choice of employer, means shipowners should seriously consider whether they have good internet access on board.”

North points out that the low speeds and high cost of on board internet are still an issue, but it expects that as satellite communications technology becomes more advanced and bandwidth limitations disappear, the cost of providing internet access at sea will become more affordable.

The Club also notes that investing in suitable satellite systems should give shipowners a competitive edge in the seafarer recruitment market as well as ensuring their officers and crews are happier and more productive at sea. However, care must also be taken to ensure the security of ships’ systems and to maintain healthy personal interactions between crew members.

“An increase in online communications brings with it new risks,” said Mr Baker.

“Viruses and malware are real problems and both shipowners and crews must play their part in preventing them. We support the maritime industry’s Be Cyber Aware At Sea campaign and have produced a range of posters for use on our members’ vessels.”

“Increased connectivity can also lead to less interaction between seafarers while on board, potentially leaving them feeling more isolated. A balance is needed between the seafarer’s connection with the outside world and their connection with their fellow crew members.”{/mprestriction}

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