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Communication Facilities

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  • Communication Facilities

    Hey guys,

    I was just wondering what kind of communication facilities where available on ships these days. Do you get a satphone quota? Do you get internet service? That kind of thing.


  • #2
    It all depends on the company.

    Most have sat phone of some sort, though not free, Iridium has seen a big take up and is cheap(ish) and cheerful, internet really depends on company, most cruise have it and lots of tankers and containers, the off shore sector have sat tv in many places.

    So really it all depends on the who, what, where and when
    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


    • #3
      As Cheify says, depending on the vessel's area of operation and purpose and what the company are willing to shell out for will dictate the facilities they have. Most cruise ships have good Internet facilities, based on a pay for time/data usage system, as well as fairly reliable phone connections. Most passenger ships will also pick up local TV and have their own onboard TV stations showing movies and shows.

      Cargo ships tend to have less, although some will have Internet for all crew to use, satphones and some may have television. This may depend on the area the ship is in and may not always be in English. I do know of some cargo companies who have very good television but it depends what they'll pay for.

      If you work on offshore supply or coastal vessels you are normally in broadcasting range of a country. For example, I know of a few people who work in north sea supply who have sky TV on their ships as well as high speed Internet and other thing. But, again, that depends on the company.

      To boldly go.....
      Forum Administrator


      • #4
        All depends on your ship and company and how much they value crew welfare...

        My first ship we had Iridium and had to purchase iridium phone cards and the system was accessible via all phones on board so you could call from your own cabin whenever you wanted.

        My second trip (a new-build) had SAT-B and F77 and wi-fi throughout. There was a sat-phone on the bridge and F77 handsets in various locations however the only one available for use by the Crew was in the Masters cabin. Wi-fi was good enough speed to be able to use voice on skype....sometimes!

        My most recent ship had F77 and wi-fi. There was a satphone on bridge and we were allowed to use it free of charge whenever we wanted (until some greedy get used up all the free minutes allocated to the ship, after which people got billed for their calls)
        Remember, you can be sea sick and sick of the sea. Avoid both at all costs...


        • #5
          The least you'll find on the worst cargo ships is an expensive sat phone and a text only e-mail account.

          Many places have various options of internet as listed above, including Inmarsats Fleet F77, VSat, Iridium or MTN.

          Some places you have to buy internet and phone cards which can be relatively expensive.


          • #6
            We're supposed to have an Iridium but we don't(well we do, but it's never worked); we're supposed to have a skype phone(it's in the bloody SMS!?!) but we don't; we can use the VHF to patch via whatever platform we're standing by, this costs 80p/min and is like using yoghurt pots and string; we do have slow but free interweb access through the least reliable Vsat dome in christendom, however the fun police severely restrict what we are allowed to look at(basically hotmail, airlines, online banking and newspapers); this is on a standby boat in the north sea.
            '... English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't
            just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages
            down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for
            new vocabulary.' - James Davis Nicoll


            • #7
              As everyone here has said, it depends on what the *owners* (I'm stressing that here) are willing to pay for. Managers can try to get the crew gold plated bathrooms, but if the Owner's won't pay then....

              Nearly all ships carry a SAT Phone of some description (F77, Iridium, Nera, etc) and whatever the policy is on board will determine if you can use it or not. A lot of companies will go with pre-paid cards. Usually they cost about $20 and you can talk to your folks for X number of minutes depending on whether it's peak or off-peak hours.

              When it comes to Internet, some Owner's will permit WiFi on board, however this will be limited to a set amount per crewman as internet via SAT is rather pricey so no downloading!

              In argument to what Ducky says, Owners (for the most part) do care about your welfare on board, in the sense of clean living conditions, decent food and HSE. Having Internet on board is not exactly a right nor something one should automatically expect. I have never been on a ship with an internet connection that the crew could access and it never bothered me. If you go in and of the same ports all the time (or even if they're in the same country) then simply buy yourself a local SIM card and show your parents how to dial a mobile over skype. Sorted...
              I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

              All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.


              • #8
                A lot of the passenger ships sell crew internet cards. Usually $0.10 a minute or so. I found the Vsat service ok for basic internet.
                Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers


                • #9
                  Onboard my ship (Maersk) we have a 'Crewmail' system this provided a free text based email system which i found really handy because it was quicker than waiting for gmail/yahoo mail to load.

                  There was 25gb of internet which got used up before months end so it was back to Crewmail when CrewNet was turned off....

                  There was also a iridum phone, good and not bad value but I waited to get into port and get a sim card (maximum time between ports 14 days) locally to stick in my 'phone'
                  Engine Cadet | Phase 5 @ Warsash Maritime Academy