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Thursday, June 25, 2020 

Mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat has published a report focusing on the way technology can benefit crew safety, health and wellbeing at sea, which it says is timely, as Covid-19 puts seafarer wellbeing in focus globally.

The report, entitled Welfare 2.0: How can the next generation of technology enable better crew safety, health and wellbeing at sea?, has been prepared by consultancy Thetius.

Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime, said: “When we first discussed this report last year with the author and the welfare organisations and charities we work closely with, none of us could have foreseen the impact that Covid-19 would have on the world, shipping, seafarers and their families. However, even then, we all felt that safety and crew welfare was being left behind in the technology stakes and much more needed to be done to look at how it could help improve the lives of seafarers.”

The new report shows that, while the maritime industry prides itself that seafarer safety and welfare is a priority, this is undermined by lack of investment in technologies benefiting worker welfare.

Spithout said: “Technology cannot provide a 'silver bullet'. However, its role is vital in embedding policies and practices to enhance safety and wellbeing on board. Data-based tools test what does and doesn’t work for the human element and track changes over time. The new report also represents the first step in Welfare 2.0. Inmarsat is already working towards the launch of a ‘Crew Welfare Open Innovation Challenge’ with Shell Shipping and Maritime and Thetius.”

Author of the report, Thetius founder and MD Nick Chubb, cites an alarming disparity between cardiovascular-related deaths at sea and available information, support and tools that minimise risks and deal with emergencies. The report shows how fleet managers could look to invest in various digital seafarer monitoring and awareness tools specific to cardiovascular health.

The report explores possible consequences of the coronavirus for seafarer training, with the closure of education facilities encouraging faster uptake of remote learning.

“Technology is not the only answer, but its development is vital if the industry is going to start to eliminate the issues we currently face with crew wellbeing,” said Spithout.

The report can be downloaded here.

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