The launch is particularly timely as hundreds of thousands of seafarers began the new year separated from their families, with 400,000 currently working beyond their contracts, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Cameron, who served as a marine engineer at sea for 17 years with shipping lines including Maersk and Farstad, said the app has been created primarily to tackle the immense challenges facing seafarers brought into sharp focus by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Safety is a fundamental pillar of our ethos as a high-quality flag state,” he said. “Even before Covid, we recognised that while there is support for seafarers in port, through the many brilliant chaplaincies and seafarer charities, the ‘weak link’ is support while at sea. Seafarer mental health is becoming more acute, with seafarers spending more time alone in their cabin than ever before. The app has many functions but a key one is to provide social activities such as live gym work-outs to get seafarers interacting more on-board to combat that isolation.”
Seafarers can be away from friends and family for many months at a time, undertaking vital yet often physically and mentally difficult work. This new app will mean that seafarers and Nautilus members will have access to news, support and vital contacts to make sure that they have everything they need while they are at sea.
Mark Dickinson, General Secretary of Nautilus International
“The app provides structured welfare support for the seafarer, ranging from a health and wellbeing self-help library that includes nutritional advice, through to Tapiit’s live streamed and interactive support sessions,” he said. “Users will have access to a full month’s agenda of physical and mental wellbeing classes and educational trainings, including fitness and yoga sessions. Seafarers can also log their work and rest hours, and if they feel stressed or unwell there is a live SOS function which provides immediate access to the Seafarers Help Live Chat, which is free, confidential and available 24-7. In addition, the app connects with global seafarer charity Stella Maris and enables seafarers to find contact details for the organisation’s chaplains in 54 countries around the world.”
On a practical level, the app tackles the problem of storing seafarer documentation in one place, as well as providing a link to trade union Nautilus with details of membership, news, careers, and jobs and training opportunities. In addition, it provides access to a wealth of information from the ship registry including the master’s handbook, shipping notices, IOMSR news feeds, marine traffic and local port services.
“The feedback we are receiving from ship owners both clients and non-clients is really positive,” he said. “Ship owners want to find better ways to help and protect seafarers, and want to embrace digital innovation. We hope this app will be a step forward for the industry and make a positive difference to many thousands of seafarers sailing under the Isle of Man flag.”
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