Internet On Board
One of the most requested facilities for crew is onboard internet connectivity. Nothing rejuvenates a tired sailor more than seeing their family over a video call after a hard day at work.
WSM Korea operates one of the world’s largest car carriers, EUKOR Car Carriers, Inc., (EUKOR), equipped with latest maritime satellite communication. This is the third year since Internet was introduced in EUKOR ships and the system has seen a recent upgrade to Global Express (GX).
Onboard Internet connectivity allows all crew to freely use social networks to communicate with their family. At the same time, networking facilities between ships and offices have improved considerably.
Crew internet use
While many other companies do provide Internet to crew, there are limits to access. We are considerably free compared to them.
Crew & Training Manager, Pyong-Hee, Kim.
Sharing on crew experience, Captain Keun-Seop Woo and Chief Officer Sung-Min Kim revealed that 2GB quota per crew has been allocated for their personal use. Access is not blocked but crew will only use them off duty.
Before the Internet upgrade, the quota was enough for crew who only exchanged text through Kakao Talk. Now that video calls have become popular and social applications like Facebook consume higher data capacity, WSM Korea is already in talks with EUKOR to expand the quota to 5GB.
Internet speed onboard
Kakao Talk can be used in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and web surfing works well too. The speed may be lower in the evenings when crew are mostly resting. Online search and music apps can be used and news portals are accessed without problems
Captain Keun-Seop Woo
Life changing experience
Captain Woo felt that real time communication with family through the Internet keeps us happy and satisfied even working away from home. Internet calls are free and communications expenses have greatly reduced.
I heard the birth of my first born while I was on board. It was a video call over my mobile phone and it changed my life. The welfare of our crew has improved so much through Internet.
Chief Officer Sung-Min Kim
Additional benefits for crew
Crew & Training Manager Kim disclosed that maritime remote medical care and education system has been set-up as well.
With these, crew can take better care of their personal health and upgrade their skills through online learning. Even though online learning is not real-time, the training program enables crew to study, take tests and check their results in line with their job.
Internet for safe navigation and management of ships
With better network, real-time discussions can be held to assess issues and quickly respond to emergency situations. In the event of crisis, the ship can make group contact with the emergency team, onshore engineers, maritime supervisors and other experts on shore side.
In the past, large file transfers were difficult between onshore and offshore. It took a long time as well. Now, photos of accidents and cargo conditions can be transferred immediately and business efficiency can be improved instantaneously.
Improvements and need
Internet speed in Korea is one of the world’s best but onboard satellite Internet cannot match that for our ships. We definitely aim to improve in future and hope that ship owners can see how much this can benefit them.
The initial installation cost is high but companies who care for the welfare of their crew should put that above the cost.
HSEQ Manager, Dae-Woo Lee
The benefits in terms of crew happiness, safety and efficiency can in the long run, outweigh the initial investment.