Inmarsat Fleet Hotspot meets the needs of crews and shipowners as seafarer connectivity becomes a requirement
In May 2022, eight significant amendments were agreed to update the landmark 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC), including making onboard crew connectivity a requirement for shipowners. The new requirements come at a time when the welfare of seafarers is coming under increasing scrutiny from inside and outside the shipping industry. As a global leader in mobile satellite communications, Inmarsat is a strong advocate for crew well-being, and its Fleet Hotspot solution helps shipowners meet requirements to ensure crew stay socially connected by sea.
Powered by Inmarsat’s industry-leading Fleet Xpress service, Fleet Hotspot offers high-speed internet access allowing crew at sea to stay in touch with friends and family, as well as stream music, movies and series. Seafarers can access the user-friendly Fleet Hotspot portal on their own device to monitor their usage or top up their balances as needed.
The value of the solution for seafarers and shipowners is clear, with the average monthly spend of crews on connectivity growing at a high rate over the past two years.
Ben Palmer, Chairman of Maritime Inmarsat, said: “We recognize that staying in touch with friends, family and the outside world is a necessity for the well-being of seafarers – a fact now recognized in recent amendments to the maritime labor convention. Adoption and usage of Fleet Hotspot has seen tremendous growth over the past few months. Operators who tested the solution then rolled it out across their entire fleet, showing that it meets owner and crew expectations. »
Following recent improvements, Fleet Hotspot is now easier to use than ever. Crew members can access their accounts even when they are at home and purchase data before boarding the ship. Detailed payment and session history provides full visibility into spending and data usage, and managing payments, credit balances and usage has also been simplified.
“Shipowners and operators see the value of the dedicated network that Fleet Hotspot provides for crew to access the Internet without interfering with the vessel’s operational bandwidth or exposing business operations to cyber threats,” Palmer commented. “Operators are also attracted to the solution for the competitive advantage it offers in hiring and retaining crew, with seafarers increasingly favoring employers who offer connectivity services of the highest quality.”
Inmarsat actively supported seafarer welfare following the outbreak of Covid-19. Through its Certified Application Provider (CAP) program, Inmarsat has provided sailors with immediate access to a COVID-19 medical hotline. This service provided vital front-line medical information to maritime industries and the maritime workforce at a time when it was needed most. The company also works closely with the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) organization and major maritime charities to ensure that seafarers have access to assistance without the burden of additional financial anxiety. Crew can access ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp portal and live chat feature through Fleet Hotspot.
On an ongoing basis, crews receive discounts on Fleet Hotspot and voice services during holidays and occasions so they can join in the celebrations at home.