Use our resources to get better internet access at sea

Nautilus is campaigning for shipping companies to give good quality, low cost internet access for personal use to all seafarers on their vessels.

The issue

Broadband and wi-fi access at home is a reality for most people around the world today. However, far too many seafarers do not have access to the internet at sea, and those who do often have limited access at high cost.

The Maritime Labour Convention recommends that reasonable access to ship-to-shore telephone communications, email and internet facilities should be available to seafarers, with any charges for the use of these services being moderate and reasonable.

Nautilus International would like to see all seafarers gaining access to an ‘at home’ service at sea - connectivity similar to that enjoyed by those of us who get to go home to loved ones every night - because after all, the ship is the seafarer’s home for many months of the year.

What Nautilus is doing

Nautilus conducted a survey of members and employers to find out how many seafarers enjoy good quality connectivity and what, if any, objections companies have against improving access.

The survey found that 88% of members worked onboard ships with internet access, but only 57% could use it for personal emails and only 34% could use social media. Only 6% of members were able to use video calling, which is considered the best way of keeping in touch with family and friends.

The research also showed that, while seafarers believed that high running and installation costs were the main reason that their companies did not improve access, the companies themselves had different concerns - around employees downloading inappropriate or large content, and the potential for the internet to be a distraction from work.

Following the survey, the Union produced a White Paper, which analysed the results, looked at case studies and gave advice on how to make improvements.

How you can help

Members can download the White Paper, which is full of advice on the best ways to seek improvements in onboard connectivity. 

Further analysis of the survey results has been published in the Nautilus Telegraph.

Members are also invited to share best practice and policies on internet use onboard by sending their views and experiences to

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