Sunday, March 7, 2021

Wi-Fi trial at Port of Gladstone keeps seafarers connected onboard

An Australian-first initiative trialling Wi-Fi on cargo ships off the Port of Gladstone allows seafarers to connect up to 20 kilometres from the shoreline, boosting communication capabilities with their loved ones.

The project results from cooperation among Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) with Telstra, Insite Communications, the Port Welfare Committee and not-for-profit Gladstone Seafarers Centre’s.

With the assistance of Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) the Wi-Fi unit, which is the first of its kind in Queensland, will be utilised aboard vessels at anchorage.

The service, which would enable seafarers onboard to have much needed communications with loved ones, comes amid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis which has left thousands of seafarers stranded onboard due to pandemic restrictions, often beyond their contract limits.

Before the pandemic, seafarers were allowed to have shore leave and access wi-fi at ports while cargo ships were docked, but now the vessels have been forced to anchor several km offshore where a signal is non-existent.

Seafarers spend long periods of time at sea and away from home, this project which has been three-years in the making will now allow them to call home once they reach us here in Gladstone,...Gladstone Seafarers Centre General Manger, Jess Mullhall, said.

The project will undergo a six-month trial and, if it proves successful, it could be rolled out to other Queensland ports through not-for-profit Seafarer Centres.

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