The Seafarers Happiness Index’s report for Q4 last year revealed seafarers are heartened that their companies have stepped up and provided connectivity for the crew onboard. The index score for connectivity peaked at 6.9, a 3.5 hike from 6.55 in Q3’s findings.
Remaining reachable at sea
The findings in Q3’s report revealed the seafarers’ need for contact with home is important; heightened by the pandemic-induced border restrictions. Communications subsequently became vital instead of being “simply important” as families at home are subject to health risks from the pandemic.
Q4’s findings revealed seafarers are heartened knowing their needs are heard and considered as connectivity made a lot of difference for crew trapped onboard for prolonged periods; enabling them to remain in touch with family at home. A few respondents said, “The one good thing that has happened since COVID-19 is that our company has now improved satellite Wi-Fi, and we are able to access it free or at good prices. This is so important to me and really has made a difference.” Nevertheless, not all seafarers enjoyed the luxury given Wi-Fi provision has yet to become a popular practice.
It is clear that onboard job satisfaction and internet access are intrinsically linked. That is where connectivity and internet access are increasingly essential. There has a need to provide the online access seafarers deeply crave. Shipowners need to bridge the gap by understanding what seafarers want and delivering it. It is necessary to appreciate what employees expect of their place of work and leisure time.
A closer look at Internet connectivity
Nautilus International, an independent global trade union conducted a study on the level of seafarers’ satisfaction with onboard internet access. The study involved some 2,000 people across the UK, Netherlands and representatives from 18 companies, which revealed compelling information.
Clearly, ships with good internet connectivity are more persuasive in terms of talent acquisition. With close gaps between seafarers jumping ship to companies providing better connections and staying with the company that provides “good enough” connectivity, allowing communications onboard and access to information is a reflection of the company’s regard for their seafarers. Individuals can also register with Crewing Online to look at the extensive listing of job opportunities posted by renowned shipowners and manning agencies for their next voyage.