Author Rose George spent five weeks on a huge container ship travelling from Felixstowe port in the UK to Singapore living amongst and hearing the colourful stories of the crew. These stoic individuals really are the ultimate keyworkers transporting essential supplies around the world from food to oil, clothes to laptops - and everything in between.
Last year the trade magazine Sea News, written for ship owner, operators, decision-makers and managers, ran an article titled Life On Board A Merchant Ship. which supported Rose’s thoughts on the life of approximately 1.2 million men and women working on the oceans.
“Experiencing the high seas, vast horizons, changing tides and the visual delights of maritime flora and fauna may appear fascinating to a travel enthusiast or a layman. However, when the same experience becomes part of daily life, the picture is not as rosy as it sounds.
The author tells us that the life of a seafarer or a member of a merchant vessel’s crew, is extremely challenging. Monotony, living away from friends and family for long periods, stressful work environments and dealing with the same people for months on end all take their toll on mental and physical health.
Of course, life for commercial crew these days has improved now mobiles became ubiquitous and coverage levels continue to improve.
For years, satellite has been the mainstay for maritime connectivity. However, things have moved on since the glory of days of Inmarsat. These days most cellular networks can provide coverage up to 40km/25 miles out to sea.
As most cargo ships tend to spend their time in-port or hugging the coast, cellular can almost always be used for both voice and data instead of satellite.
However, the major problem with the cellular at sea approach is that multiple SIMs have been required to ensure coverage throughout the cruise. As the ship crosses borders, so the network operators will change and sailors will need to change SIMs
if they want to stay in touch.
With the specific goal of improving connectivity at sea, Telecom26 has developed a multi-pronged approach:
These enable one SIM to access multiple networks both in-country and across borders thus removing the need to worry about the coverage of a single MNO, or the existence of roaming alliances. Multiple-IMSI network profiles (identities) are pre-loaded on every SIM allowing for simple reconfiguration if the primary network has poor or no service.
Our Multi-IMSI global SIMs automatically select the best performing network in the area, cross-border, while providing users with the freedom to change SIM profiles and services with ease.
Ship owners can provide crew with global SIM cards for their own devices, and either pick up the bill or take the cost of calls and data from a sailor’s salary. Telecom26 is able to provide individual bills.
This provides Wi-Fi data and calling to the crew. When a ship is cruising along the coast or anchored at port, the SIMs would use the best available cellular network and switch to satellite only when absolutely necessary.
With rates as low as €2 per GB, and data bundles of over 2.5TB, our service is now even more affordable - and optimised for ships and offshore infrastructure.
Our billing is flexible although we prefer to bill the enterprise and not the individual as we are a B2B provider.
To learn more about Telecom26’s suite of maritime connectivity and multi-IMSI global SIM cards please click here.
Head QuartersTelecom26 AG