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Unions call for free crew internet amid COVID-19

UK-based union Nautilus has backed calls for crew internet, data and satellite calls to be made free for three months to cover the peak infection period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nautilus 24/7 provider ISWAN, on behalf of Nautilus and other trade unions, seafaring charities, the UK Chamber of Shipping and international maritime medical experts, have urgently requested global satellite provider Inmarsat and shipboard high-speed internet solutions provider KVH Industries to enable free calls. In separate letters to the service providers, ISWAN executive director Roger Harris asked Inmarsat to grant additional free data and free satellite calls, and for KVH Industries to grant additional free data and free satellite calls for seafarers aboard vessels on international voyages for the next three months: Seafarers on board vessels are being badly affected, often unable to leave their ship because of port state and other restrictions. They are having to stay on board for a lot longer than they signed up for and are being prevented from going ashore. Many seafarers are also stranded and unable to return to their home countries. Mr Harris said communication back home is the 'number one welfare concern of seafarers, and the link with home has become even ...

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