- Laurence Russell
Crew welfare enhanced at Anglo-Eastern by connecting seafarers with Inmarsat fleet hotspot
Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, a leading global provider of ship management services with more than 40 years of experience supporting shipowners worldwide, has chosen Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, to connect its crew. Centred on the pillars of digitalisation, decarbonisation, and crew welfare, Anglo-Eastern’s operations rely on robust connectivity and a forward-thinking approach. To meet the fast-evolving requirements of modern shipping, the company uses Fleet Xpress services from Inmarsat.
In 2019, Anglo-Eastern became one of the first companies to sign up for Inmarsat’s award-winning crew internet solution, Fleet Hotspot, providing its seafarers with reliable, high-speed connectivity and the freedom to use their devices on board. The company doubled the free internet allowance for its crew in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on crew welfare. In addition, every year on the Day of the Seafarer and festive occasions, Anglo-Eastern increases crew internet allowance.
Captain Pradeep Chawla, Managing Director QHSE and Training, Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, commented “One of our main objectives as a ship management company is to improve the quality of life at sea – and since onboard connectivity is an essential part of that, we aim to provide the crew with a quality of internet similar to what they would have on land. That is why, through Inmarsat’s Fleet Hotspot, we offer our seafarers free high-speed internet connectivity per month.”
Gert-Jan Panken, Vice President Direct Sales, Inmarsat Maritime said: “Offering crew a high-quality internet connection is a prudent business decision for shipping companies. Through the user-friendly Inmarsat Fleet Hotspot portal, seafarers can monitor their usage and top up their balance using their own devices. Furthermore, recent enhancements to the portal have made the solution easier to use than ever, crew can access their accounts from home and purchase data even before boarding the vessel.”
While the majority of land-based professionals might take workplace Wi-Fi for granted, high-quality internet has traditionally been hard to come by at sea. Such is the impact of Fleet Hotspot on the maritime industry that it recently won the Mission to Seafarers Innovation Award for its “outstanding contribution to seafarer welfare”. As an advocate for the well-being of maritime personnel, the Mission to Seafarers is also a strong proponent of onboard connectivity, and its 2021 Seafarers Happiness Index identifies the amenity as critical to crew welfare.
Encouragingly, the shipping industry has made significant progress in this area in recent times. In Inmarsat’s 2022 Seafarers in the Digital Age report, 78% of the shipowners surveyed said they had installed crew internet in the last five years. Meanwhile, another Inmarsat study published this year highlighted a 149% growth in data consumption for crew welfare and connectivity purposes from June 2021 to June 2022. As regards Fleet Hotspot specifically, uptake and usage of the solution are experiencing rapid growth – and with newly introduced amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 making crew connectivity a regulatory requirement, these trends look set to continue.
“The maritime industry has been facing a serious talent crunch for some time, and the situation has only intensified by the pandemic and the resulting crew-change crisis and geopolitical uncertainty,” said Captain Chawla. “Owners and managers are now working with a smaller pool of talent, so the competition for the best candidates is fierce. To stand out from the crowd, companies need to place as much emphasis on crew internet access as they do on business-critical connectivity – and Fleet Hotspot makes this easy.”
Fleet Hotspot is available to all Fleet Xpress users through the Fleet Edge platform, which provides access to a broad portfolio of Inmarsat connectivity services for more advanced, efficient, and secure operations.