The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA)in a press release have shared the outcome report of a recent survey which paints a positive effect for seafarers who have access to the Internet. According to the report, apart from the widespread adoption of Internet access for personal use by seafarers on board ships, it it is proven from the survey that the benefits associated with the access significantly outweighs the safety concerns people feared about the technology.
Even though the responses showed that the two main reasons why companies fail to provide Internet access on board vessels was due to costs (68%) and the impact on rest or sleep (60%), the benefits observed from the survey such as the improved mental health and well-being of seafarers (according to 60% of respondents) and the morale of seafarers in the company (according to 69% of respondents)makes the access to internet worthwhile.
The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.
Internet access is growing rapidly, yet large groups of people remain unconnected to the Internet. As of 2015, about 43% of people had access to the Internet (in developing countries only 34%). Access to ICTs is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to ‘significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ (Goal 9.c).