Since the launch of our app in December, 2014, we’ve been encouraged by others who are following suit to improve the access to information given to seafarers while at sea.
When we developed our mobile app, we wanted to give seafarers a lifeline to critical advice should they find themselves in a legal situation which left them at risk of criminalization, abandonment or suffering from infringement of their human rights.
The app was designed to enable seafarers to help themselves, and to give them the guidance they needed when unbiased help wasn’t available onboard the ship.
As discussions surface about an over-reliance of technology onboard ships for monitoring seafarers, educational apps are increasingly welcomed by the industry as a way to ‘improve competence, not just compliance’, as Intermanager aptly commented this week.
For some time, whilst technology has been shown to improve efficiencies onboard ships it has put great pressure on seafarers. The over-monitoring of performance through digital means has been criticized as a result.
As social media apps increase in popularity too, which many claim worsen the issues surrounding isolation onboard as they reduce social interaction with fellow seafarers, many are looking to blame onboard digital connectivity for the rise in mental health issues.
We believe there is a place for technology onboard ships. In respect of the seafarer, these apps should be designed to help them help themselves, as in the case of the app launched this week by the Sailors’ Society. Their Wellbeing at Sea app aims to monitor the wellbeing of seafarers and help them to deal with issues such as stress, fatigue and mental health problems.
Apps should help, not hinder seafarers. Technology should give workers access to information, giving them the confidence to deal with their issues, be that legal, social, personal or otherwise, encouraging them to speak to fellow seafarers and ship owners, and share information to solve common problems experienced in their profession.