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  • Internet Access on deep sea vessels

    Do most deep sea ships have the internet if so is it anygood. or is it just company email etc.
    Maybe I will never be
    All the things that I want to be
    But now is not the time to cry
    Now's the time to find out why

  • #2
    Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

    Depends who you work for, some do but a lot don't.
    The equipment/subscription for seaborne internet is very expensive, hence why few companies outside the Cruise Ship/Offshore sector have it.
    Most ships do have a company email system where you're given your own onboard address and can send/receive small emails, usually with a maximum size of 5kb (i.e. about a page of A4). Attachments are usually forbidden and in most systems if an email with an attachment tries to get through it'll simply be blocked. These onboard email systems aren't 'always on' like Hotmail - the Old Man will have to manually link up with the satellite to send/receive emails, they'll normally do this 3 or 4 times a day.

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    • #3
      Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

      RFAs deployed on operations have a permanent leased-line Internet connection but access is variable depending on who you are. When around the UK most folk have mobile Internet access anyway. E-mails are pretty much unrestricted in size and although there used to be guidance about not adding attachments, I've never seen it enforced. We've now got "welfare" Internet access on some ships to allow everyone access, and with no restrictions on webmail and such (the main MoD Internet system doesn't allow access to sites where you can send information). Speed is usually ISDN, 64kb/s. Feels very slow in these days of broadband.

      I had expected the commercial sector to be way ahead on convenient Internet access for all. Is it not so?

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      • #4
        Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

        I hear "cosy" public sector v "sackcloth" private sector debate clouds a-rumblin'...
        Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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        • #5
          Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

          guess it varies . the main reason i asked was because a friend on mine updated his facebook whilst on a ship . which i thought was unusual one because its zodiac !!! and i also thought it was just company email
          Maybe I will never be
          All the things that I want to be
          But now is not the time to cry
          Now's the time to find out why

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          • #6
            Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

            Originally posted by bigjohn92
            guess it varies . the main reason i asked was because a friend on mine updated his facebook whilst on a ship . which i thought was unusual one because its zodiac !!! and i also thought it was just company email
            It's possible he could of been using Wifi from a bar / restaurant / someones house ashore :-) Or his phone.

            As the others said, it varies considerably by company, only ships where you are guaranteed to have access is cruise - although you will get charged for it, since its installed for passengers to use (and most also have there own mobile phone networks so you can use your mobile when at sea, which for some reason despite also using a satellite doesn't have as bad a delay as using the ships satellite phones). And even then it's not considerably good on all ships - on this one its pathetically slow and pretty much everything other than 'web page access' is blocked (no skype, msn, itunes) - thank goodness for unsecured networks near the port
            ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

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            myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

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            • #7
              Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

              Originally posted by Steve
              I had expected the commercial sector to be way ahead on convenient Internet access for all. Is it not so?
              Yes and no. Those ships which require high speed data links such as Offshore Support/Survey etc generally have Broadband speed access, and as Alistair has mentioned as does just about every cruise ship.
              As things stand, most Cargo/Tanker owners don't see the need to fit internet as the signals traffic to/from the ship doesn't really warrant the expensive fit/subscription, and what traffic there is, is adequately catered for by the Sat-C system. Most other companies that have fitted it have generally done so for purely welfare reasons, and you're either granted a certain amount of online time daily/weekly or have to buy 'data cards' in a similar fashion to satellite phone cards.
              Some of the tanker/box boat mobs have fitted it not only for Comms reasons, but also to link in with the ships Integrated Bridge/Engine Room systems - i.e. they can have real time feeds of position/course/speed from the bridge, together with things like RPM/exhaust gas temps etc from the Engine Room, some even have live feeds from CCTV cameras positioned around the ship.
              It's not uncommon for some shore wallah to get on the Sat phone to the ship and ask for a clarification as to x/y/z readout, needless to say this constant monitoring/big brother attitude doesn't really go down well onboard.
              The other side of the this issue is of course that of criminal acts, by that I mean illegally downloading music/films etc and the more serious side - Porn. If caught, then not only does the downloader get in trouble, so invariably does the Old Man/Chief (responsible for the system onboard) and to an extent the Company as it's their internal system.
              I don't know if you've seen the latest NUMAST Telegraph's of late, but there's been a big splash about shore authorities boarding vessels and finding pornographic material on laptop/ships own computers, especially where such stuff is deemed to be "child porn". An example being that the age of consent in the Philippines is 12 years old, so individuals from that country may have images of children of that age as it's "legal". This is not the case of course in the likes of the UK/USA etc where such images are quite rightly seen as child pornography, so if you're on a ship in the UK with such images and are caught, you will be arrested and charged appropriately - as has actually happened.
              There have been a few inconclusive test cases, but Shipowners are genuinely worried about the implications of such discovery/prosecution, hence why onboard internet has so many restrictions and indeed why some owners are loathe to fit it at all.
              As you know, Internet onboard is a massive morale booster, especially with the likes of video calls via Skype or even just to look at your online banking/facebook etc. The downside being that it's even easier for the Company to get in contact with the ship, so the amount of nonsense email traffic ramps up considerably.
              On a tanker I sailed on which had internet access, the Old Man was receiving upwards of 80 emails a day from numerous bods in the office, most of whom were asking daft questions or sending on irrelevant news/material because they regard the ships as an extension of their 'mobile office'. They simply aren't aware that of the workings of a ship at sea, where the Old Man/Chief has much better things to do than stare at the computer all day reading/writing emails.

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              • #8
                Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

                Originally posted by Malim Sahib
                Most other companies that have fitted it have generally done so for purely welfare reasons,
                A euphemism if ever I heard one.

                Originally posted by Malim Sahib
                It's not uncommon for some shore wallah to get on the Sat phone to the ship and ask for a clarification as to x/y/z readout, needless to say this constant monitoring/big brother attitude doesn't really go down well onboard.
                That's why I hate electronics. I suppose on the upside, it's a reassurance for help if under attack from Jolly Dodgers (...but I suppose the crew ain't worth as much as the cargo!).

                Originally posted by Malim Sahib
                The other side of the this issue is of course that of criminal acts, by that I mean illegally downloading music/films etc and the more serious side - Porn. If caught, then not only does the downloader get in trouble, so invariably does the Old Man/Chief (responsible for the system onboard) and to an extent the Company as it's their internal system.
                I don't know if you've seen the latest NUMAST Telegraph's of late, but there's been a big splash about shore authorities boarding vessels and finding pornographic material on laptop/ships own computers, especially where such stuff is deemed to be "child porn". An example being that the age of consent in the Philippines is 12 years old, so individuals from that country may have images of children of that age as it's "legal". This is not the case of course in the likes of the UK/USA etc where such images are quite rightly seen as child pornography, so if you're on a ship in the UK with such images and are caught, you will be arrested and charged appropriately - as has actually happened.
                There have been a few inconclusive test cases, but Shipowners are genuinely worried about the implications of such discovery/prosecution, hence why onboard internet has so many restrictions and indeed why some owners are loathe to fit it at all.
                Does that make them more or less receptive to allowing wife/gf/family to travel with?
                When I heard that its possible, I was quite surprised; then I hear of fancy dining with wives and G&Ts, what's the deal with this? Golden era? AIUI, it's a matter of asking the OM's permission.

                Originally posted by Malim Sahib
                They simply aren't aware that of the workings of a ship at sea, where the Old Man/Chief has much better things to do than stare at the computer all day reading/writing emails.
                Most people simply aren't aware of the workings of the internet, especially those who rely on it for their work/social life.
                Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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                • #9
                  Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

                  Originally posted by scotty
                  A euphemism if ever I heard one.
                  Indeed! In reality it's often a desperate attempt to retain staff!


                  Originally posted by scotty
                  Does that make them more or less receptive to allowing wife/gf/family to travel with?
                  When I heard that its possible, I was quite surprised; then I hear of fancy dining with wives and G&Ts, what's the deal with this? Golden era? AIUI, it's a matter of asking the OM's permission.
                  I'm not sure if it really affects that side of things, a lot of companies do allow you to bring the Wife/Girlfriend with you, some for specificed periods of time, others for as long as you're onboard.
                  A lot of Masters/Chiefs I sailed with in BP would bring their wives with them, sometimes for upto 4 or 5 months, especially if you were on a nice run. This was later extended to Junior Officers, and whilst no questions would be asked if you were to bring your wife. to bring your girlfriend required signed statements from both sets of parents testifying to the fact that you had been living together for at least 2 years. I think it's become a bit more lax now though!
                  Some companies would pay their air fares to/from the ship, but most wouldn't, however you could usually take advantage of Seaman's Airline Tickets (much cheaper than normal tickets as they're subsidised) and no charge was levied for victualling etc onboard.
                  Officers children are generally not carried at all, mainly for insurance purposes as well as practical reasons (i.e. emergencies), although some companies did allow them to remain onboard whilst the ship was running up/down the UK coast, but not deepsea. P&O (when they had cargo ships), BP and Cable Ships being examples.
                  Thing is though, a cargo ship/tanker today isn't a really a great place for a spouse, as not only is boredom a serious problem, many ships simply aren't on decent enough runs to allow time ashore, plus most ships going dry these days doesn't help either.
                  When you were on decent runs, had a ship with a lively social life and where the Officers enjoyed things like silver service for meals etc then bringing the wife was ideal. Alas, most companies are rapidly trying to make ships a 'proper' full time industrial environment, rather than being a workplace where people also have to live.
                  In certain countries (i.e. West Africa), having someone onboard who wasn't a member of the crew, yet in the legal sense wasn't a passenger either would cause all sorts of official problems.
                  There were also social problems regularly encountered, ranging from the Wife/GF 'assuming' the same rank as her Husband, to er, them getting "lost" within the accommodation at times (cough cough) - especially on ships where shore leave was limited and you doing 5-6 month trips...
                  I also remember an instance where an AB had been 'spying' on the wife of the Chief Engineer, this all came out in the open when he was caught sneaking into their cabin during the middle of the night (he thought the C/E was in the Engine Room at the time).
                  On the plus side it was almost always a positive influence. For example the amount of swearing would go down considerably, 'anatomical' posters would be removed from the bar, we'd all start shaving on a more regular basis, drunkeness would usually go down (sometimes went up), and when you're away from home for long periods it makes such a great difference to simply have a simple chat with the opposite sex.
                  In short, we'd all become civilised gentlemen once more!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

                    Originally posted by Malim Sahib
                    Some companies would pay their air fares to/from the ship, but most wouldn't, however you could usually take advantage of Seaman's Airline Tickets (much cheaper than normal tickets as they're subsidised) and no charge was levied for victualling etc onboard.
                    Officers children are generally not carried at all, mainly for insurance purposes as well as practical reasons (i.e. emergencies), although some companies did allow them to remain onboard whilst the ship was running up/down the UK coast, but not deepsea. P&O (when they had cargo ships), BP and Cable Ships being two examples.
                    Thing is though, a cargo ship/tanker today isn't a really a great place for a spouse, as not only is boredom a serious problem, many ships simply aren't on decent enough runs to allow time ashore, coupled with most ships going dry these days doesn't help either. When you were on decent runs, had a ship with a lively social life and where the Officers enjoyed things like silver service for meals etc then bringing the wife was ideal.
                    I guess it's probably bearable on a cruise ship (and probably the only environment kids could go on - though I have seen photos of sea cadets on RFAs...)... I think I read somewhere that they allowed it, but they charged a reduced rate, rather than dish out a freebie... Tight as Feck.
                    Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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                    • #11
                      Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

                      I had my wife and daughter on board last year, running from Hong Kong to Soth Africa, they got off at Port Louis. Both had fun and this is on a dry container ship And this was with the Dark Empire.

                      They get 1 assisted air ticket / year each as they where there over new year I got out and in covered, but was still fairly pricey
                      Trust me I'm a Chief.

                      Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                      Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                      No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.


                      Twitter:- @DeeChief

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                      • #12
                        Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

                        Is that only treats for cheifs, or can we all stick our hand in the jar?
                        Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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                        • #13
                          Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

                          /me giggles a bit

                          For top 4 it's valid for all trips so wife can come every trip is she pleases but the travel (plane ticket) is only once / year
                          For all other ranks it's 1 trip / year

                          Currently though there are some restrictions on carrying wives through the Pirate Waters but there are some ships that dont go that way :P
                          Trust me I'm a Chief.

                          Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                          Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                          No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.


                          Twitter:- @DeeChief

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                          • #14
                            Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

                            so whats the company email like. could you use it once a day or more once a week . he may have been ashore when he updated his status ? Wifes on Ships does that not cause problems like arguments at sea ? not a good enviroment as there is no where to hide.
                            Maybe I will never be
                            All the things that I want to be
                            But now is not the time to cry
                            Now's the time to find out why

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Internet Access on deep sea vessels

                              Won't they miss the kitchen?



                              *Apologises to all female members of the forums*

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