We have been talking and discussing about technology and how its helping seafarers in various ways in the last few of our posts.
In view of the recent developments in the Maritime industry the seafarers have put to lot of stress in their already stressed working environment. So I felt it might be helpful to list out few Apps (I think these are the only ones as I researched and were not able to find any more on this subject) Please do suggest if I have missed any for the betterment of our community.
The below are list of Apps which could assist/help/guide seafarers onboard and ashore alike to come over and discuss their issues openly confidentially and free of cost! Human life is too precious to be wasted!!
Please note, when you are onboard, there are procedures to be followed for any grievance and the list below does not in any way suggests for you to bypass any of the procedures. These options can be used after exhausting the company procedures.
1) Seafarers’ Rights International-http://m.seafarersrights.org/
(Instruction: The link is a website however you can open same on your phone browser and you have an option of either “add short cut to home screen” or simply “Add to home screen” option through the browser. Just save the website as a bookmark and click on the book mark when required)
Designed to operate offline, the app has a ‘Find a Lawyer’ tool, which gives immediate access to a database of lawyers around the world who have signed up to the SRI Charter and who may be able to offer assistance to seafarers facing criminal prosecution. You also have link of all ITF inspectors in the page and you could call them to assist you in any trouble you may be in.
With lot of criminalisation happening against seafarers, this would be a good resource if your company is not helping you or its not able to help you.
2) ITF seafarers
This App has been developed by ITF for the seafarers which provides a one stop shop for seafarers in search of vessel information, contact details for ITF inspectors/affiliates and the ITF Helpline. The information displayed is derived directly from the ITF’s centralised system and is therefore as up to date as possible. With this App seafarer can check the details of ITF inspector closest to you. It also gives good information with regards to the ITF affiliation, salary structure onboard etc.
ISWAN (The International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network)’s Seafarer Help initiative assisted 8,862 seafarers of 92 different nationalities with concerns such as family issues, personal problems, unpaid wages, repatriation and health issues.
The organisation is available 24X7 all 365 days who can be contacted through various methods of contact as mentioned in the image below.
The Seafarer Help team speaks a wide range of languages including Filipino, Russian, Hindi, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. The helpline can be contacted via a number of different methods including telephone (with a call back option), e-mail, Live Chat and WhatsApp.
4) Indian Seafarers Help
Indian Seafarers Help App is dedicated to extend all possible guidance to seafarers and aspiring seafarers.
The App needs lot of your information for registering however has options for grievances. The app doesn’t seem to be back by any official organisation as nothing is mentioned in the App, however a direct mobile number is given for any assistance.
You could use this as your last option, if any of the well-established option doesn’t work. This also is applicable only for Indian seafarers.
5) The Mariners Seafarers App
The Mariners Seafarers App is a useful place for seafarers to access a full range of help, advice and support when visiting the Port of Hong Kong. Information included on the app provides full details of the Seafarer’s mission services as well as news and advice for life at sea and useful contacts for maritime welfare centres around the world.
This APP is jointly developed by The Sailors Home and Mission to Seafarers based in Hong Kong and gives lot of local information about Hong Kong and also have a unique option of delivering small food and other items on the ship with their Shop onboard option in the App. The most important is that they have contacts of all the mission to seafarers braches listed in the App which is very useful and can be used for any urgent assistance required.
6) NUSI UNION APP
This App is the official App of National Union of Seafarers of India which has many Indian Ratings as its members. This Union is affiliated to the ITF.
The App is very basic with an option to send a message to the union and all other options actually direct you to the ITF website pages.
There are more than 10K downloads as of May 2020 and hence it may be assumed that seafarers are using the app.
In summarising, seafarers are going through a roller coaster ride of their careers both who are onboard and who are ashore. Even after the Pandemic seafarers may find these Apps/links useful in getting an ear of their issues, concerns and challenges.
Do comment below if you of any other App or support system available to seafarers for their issues/problems.