Enabling seafarers to access the internet when docked in port
Innovative technology has been installed at the Port of Workington Cumbria, enabling seafarers from across the world to access the internet when docked in port thanks to funding via The Mission to Seafarers global maritime welfare charity from The Merchant Navy Welfare Board.
The state-of-the-art Wi-Fi was installed as part of a collaborative partnership between the maritime charity, the Port of Workington and IT specialists David Allen IT Solutions.
The Mission to Seafarers aims to care for seafarers around the world, many of whom are away from home and at sea for weeks and months at a time.
Travelling at sea can be a lonely and isolated occupation and with only 28% of seafarers having access to wireless internet the first thing many want to do when they reach port is contact their families and catch up on what they have missed back at home.
Arriving at ports far from home all too often means that seafarers go for months without an internet connection and the ability to see or speak to their families. The Mission to Seafarers wanted to support seafarers by enabling them to connect to the outside world whilst away from home and it is for this reason that they funded an innovative project to enable the Port of Workington to provide wireless internet access to all of their visitors.
IT Solutions were delighted to take on the challenge of creating a wireless internet network across the Port using funding provided by The Mission to Seafarers. This was no mean feat as not only was the area to be covered vast but security was also paramount. Careful consideration was needed regarding locations of equipment and cabling so that it didn’t impede on the day-to-day operations of the Port and was fully weatherproof.
Geoff Moore, Port Chaplain North West Ports, The Mission to Seafarers (See photo above), said: “Over 18 months ago I approached Workington port to undertake a Wi-Fi survey. Seafarers had been seen outside the port office trying to log on with poor success. The port invited me to a meeting with Dave Allen IT solutions and the rest is all history. It’s fantastic for the seafarers, who will use the new system to contact family and friends – this is a very important part of the welfare work do. Thanks to everyone involved; I am overjoyed with this outcome.“
Ken Peters, Director of Justice and Public Affairs, The Mission to Seafarers, said: “We are delighted that Dave Allan IT Solutions have delivered a robust system with cutting-edge technology, to bring vital communications to seafarers visiting the Port of Workington. Loneliness and isolation are very serious problems for crews, who can be at sea for 10 to 12 months a year. Talking to your loved ones for support is something all of us on land take for granted. This new system will make a real difference to the quality of seafarers’ lives every day, making their stay in the Port of Workington a welcome one.“
IT Solutions’ Neil Kendall commented: “Our friends at the port showed genuine vision in wanting their customers to have internet access whilst ensuring it was done in a robust and secure way. The technology used means that high numbers of wireless devices can be connected while being managed and controlled from a central console within the Port’s control. The installation not only benefits visiting seafarers but it also opens up future options for the Port including the option of using GPS scanners and cargo monitoring software from the dockside thus improving performance, turnaround times and accuracy levels. It was such a great project to work on and the client relationship we have developed with the Port of Workington and The Mission to Seafarers has made a fantastic project even more worthwhile.
Source: The Mission to Seafarers