Staring into the communication abyss

Those frantic footsteps, shaky breadth, and sweat beads all over the forehead tells the state of a young sailor. This voyage has been like many others,  occasional news from family and the rest of the world. Accustomed to the ignorance, most days it isn’t a massive problem but today was very different.

An hour back he logged into the limited internet access, a message from his wife immediately popped up. “Our son is very sick. Can you come home asap?”. 

A message strong enough to panic and stir any father. He tried reaching out to her but the connectivity was as rough and unpredictable as the sea.

He kept trying for several minutes but anxiety had got better of him. His two-year-old was not okay and now, so was his father. He reached out to the Captain of the ship who immediately helped with provide a satellite phone – only used for emergencies. 

The bell was ringing on the other side but there was no response. He tried another time and another, and with every unanswered call, his already pounding heart gained pace. He then called a relative, just in case his wife had reached out to him. 

He answered, “I am sorry. We lost the baby. Can you come? Your wife needs you.”

The captain, his company, and crew did everything to help the sailor reach his home asap and it took over 48 hours. The pain of not being able to help or say the last goodbye to his little boy is excruciatingly unimaginable. 

This incident is just one. There have been many. We talk about the advancement in technology and how sailors at sea can now call their friends and family back home and talk to them. 

True, there was a time when sailors and their families didn’t know how their loved ones were, out of contact for months at a time, they would hope and wait for the shores to come, all lined up at the phone booth to try and connect with home. Fortunately, technology has definitely made life easier, you can call and connect with the outside world more often. The big question on everyone’s minds is the industry doing enough and what more can be done to help sailors and their loved ones remain hyper-connected, just as we land lovers are?!

The agonising pain of not knowing the news about your loved ones has long been born by generation after generation of seafarer’s families and ultimately by seafarers themselves. What seems enough today still wasn’t enough for our sailor who may have been able to connect and be with his child.

Technology has certainly made it possible for people to travel across the globe in a matter of hours and technology has enabled people to identify and cure the deadliest of diseases. Yet, in these times of innovation, if a man cannot say a final goodbye to his little one then, the answer is no, not nearly enough is being done and the even bigger question is, how governments come together with connectivity providers to solve some of the draconian communication challenges that impedes our seafarers and their loved mental health.

Especially, in recent times when COVID-19 left millions of seafarers stranded on their ships for longer time-periods, doctors confirmed significant increases in cases of depression and suicide amongst these sailors when they returned. History tells us that, it is in times of adversity that we come together to solve some of the world’s biggest problems with new innovations, yet the maritime industry remains fragmented with too many apps all trying to solve just one part of the problem. Surely, it’s high time that someone came up with a solution to this never-ending disconnect. The good news is that someone did come up with a solution, a platform called onship.

What is onship?

It is the world’s first seafarer connectivity super App. An app that is simple, easy-to-use, and equipped with satellite optimised communication tools. The difference between onship and the other platforms is that it is a holistic platform,  like a portal or a single window to all the communication, welfare, and entertainment services a seafarer needs to remain, connected, healthy and happy at sea. 

The app offers a single digital touch-point that can be installed on the seafarers’ mobile device to gain connectivity access to the outside world from the ocean, a mine, a remote oil field or any connectivity constrained environment.

What are the advantages of onship over the other well-known apps?

  • Seamless communication experience that just works when needed
  • Hyper optimised for satellite – data plans and messages go much further
  • Highly discounted calling inclusive of access to free micro-app services 
  • Over-the-air’ content updates (no software re-installations required)
  • Messaging, voice and video – when you need to see your family, you can
  • Snappie – send home free personalised postcards 
  • Robbie – your daily personalised news feed (No more data wastage)
  • Emma – your trusty onship companion and assistant for all your queries
  • Free welfare services marketplace – no more struggling alone 

As Arthur C. Clarke has said: 

“Any sufficiently advanced technology
is equivalent to magic.”

onship is that magic for our sailors at sea. Let the magic keep you happy and safe whilst you are far from home.

Keep safe and connected at sea!