Access to email and the internet at sea is severely restricted for ordinary seafarers. Satelitte communications are used as essential aids to navigation and ship to shore email for logistics. However, seafarers do not have access to often limited and expensive broadband services at sea. It is estimated that only 28% of seafarers have access to the internet when they are in deep sea locations. The situation continues to improve, and many reputable ship owners are making internet and broadband communications available to their crews, but much more needs to be done.

It is important for ship owners to understand that access to personal emails, Skype, Facebook and Whatsapp services is vital to ensuring that seafarers maintain healthy and lasting relationships at home. Access to broadband is essential for every seafarer's wellbeing and tackles chronic isolation, depression and work place stress.

The Mission to Seafarers is very aware that connections home are of vital important to good mental health and happiness on board. That is why we supply SIM mobile top up cards, Wi-Fi services in port and help with access to the internet for seafarers as soon as they come ashore. Many of the Mission's 120 Flying Angel Seafarers' Centres have laptops and broadband access, as well as computers and landlines.

We are working with communications suppliers, such at iVitta (opens in a new window) and other mobile providers, as well as global satellite companies, to improve communications for seafarers in the workplace. The Mission has also set up a new joint partnership with the North American Maritime Ministry Assocation (NAMMA) to deliver a Digital Centre for Seafarers' Ministry - called the MARE project. (Opens in a new window.)