Inmarsat has expanded its crew welfare services with a remote medical application and free access to maritime charities as seafarers face greater challenges during the global coronavirus pandemic
As Covid-19 continues to impact shipping, more seafarers are stranded on ships and unable to return home at the end of their campaigns. Travel restrictions worldwide are preventing crew changes and limiting services to ships.
In response, Inmarsat offers free calls to the maritime charity International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and is assisting other charities.
Inmarsat has expanded its coronavirus response through further collaboration with these charities, by introducing a Covid-19 video telemedicine call service and launching a new chat-card.
At the start of June, Inmarsat launched a telemedicine application over its Ka/L-band connectivity service, Fleet Xpress. It worked with crew healthcare specialist Vikand and software platform provider FrontM to provide a free Covid-19 video call service with a trained health professional. This service is being rolled out on vessels using Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress, with 150 ships so far connected and more than 1,000 vessels soon to go live.
In addition, Inmarsat has launched its ChatCard services for Fleet Xpress with an introductory discount available until the end of July. It continues to provide a voice call discount offer to its retail customers using FleetBroadband ChatCard voice services and to wholesale partners offering FleetBroadband voice calls under the legacy crew calling SQT brand.
For free crew assistance during the coronavirus crisis, Inmarsat is offering seafarer access to ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp portal and live chat function via the onboard wifi portal, Fleet Hotspot. This is in addition to offering free voice phone calls to the service.
Inmarsat is also providing satellite phones to charity port chaplains in harbours where seafarers are stranded and have no internet access.
SeafarerHelp is ISWAN’s free, confidential, multilingual helpline, which offers support and assistance to seafarers and their families worldwide. Seafarers can get in touch via live chat, email and telephone, said ISWAN executive director Roger Harris. “SeafarerHelp has been extremely busy over the last three months as crew face the impact of being stranded on board and the loss of employment,” said Mr Harris.
“Offering free access to SeafarerHelp on Fleet Hotspot will make it easier for crew on board these vessels to access support and assistance wherever they are in the world, day or night.”
Inmarsat Maritime president Ronald Spithout said seafarers need certainty in communications during the global Covid-19 crisis.
“These new initiatives, together with those we have already launched, alleviate one of the core concerns crews face as they go about the business of keeping world trade moving day-in, day-out,” said Mr Spithout.
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