Inmarsat has sponsored a new report that explores the future of boating to 2050, a report that not only offers insights on connectivity, but rather recommendations on how boating, training institutions and social services can meet the changing needs of tomorrow’s sailors.
Called “A fair future for sailors?” â, The report was prepared by the maritime consultancy firm Thetius. Although released as the world continues to fight the impact of COVID-19, the report suggests epidemics and pandemics could become more common, predicting that issues of safety, fatigue and harassment are unlikely crews are shrinking in the short term, and foresees the potential for seafarers abandonment and criminalization as growing problems that must be addressed.
The well-being of crews continues to be a hot topic, as sailors have been under tremendous stress during the pandemic with the inability to effectively effect regular crew changes, with some stranded on ships for more than a year. Connectivity, enabling contact with people and events ashore, is increasingly seen as an essential part of the health and well-being of seafarers in general.
“Seafarers in 2050 will likely have greater interaction and engagement with teams of people ashore,” according to the report. The economics of maritime transport and carbon emission strategies indicate shorter port stays. Social services will become more digitally driven than face-to-face physical contact. Decreased crew numbers and shorter shore days will also mean less reliance on seafarer centers. Therefore, online charity outreach services will become vitally important.
âThe 2020-21 pandemic could be seen as a turning point for telemedicine,â said Ronald Spithout, president of Inmarsat.
The report highlights how fatigue monitoring and management systems are likely to replace manual recording of hours of rest. Following the Open Innovation Challenge 2020 on crew well-being, Inmarsat and Shell Shipping and Trading are testing at sea the software capacity provided by Eupnoos and Workrest to enable intelligent management of fatigue from data collected by wearable technology .
By 2050, sailors will be born into the digital age, Gardner and Chubb note, but the use of artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing and extended reality (XR) technology on board will still require higher levels of technical training. Signs of change are also apparent here, with the Isle of Man Registry working with start-up Tapiit to create an app to live stream the training, and organizations such as Ocean Technology Group providing maritime training to the using virtual reality headsets.
âWe are fully aware of the sacrifices our sailors continue to make to keep the global economy going,â says Spithout. âThis new report includes important proposals for the creation of a global seafarer defense organization and an urgent strategic review of local seafarer services. For its part, Inmarsat is doing everything to support our seafarers. We do this by improving connectivity and digital services that support the safety, continuing professional development and well-being of crews, as well as by continuously working collaboratively with charities, vessel owners and managers to provide improved welfare services.