The Isle of Man Ship Registry is set to launch the first-ever seafarer welfare app designed by a ship registry.
According to Cameron Mitchell, the Isle of Man Ship Registry director, the app is in the final stages of development and is set go live later this month.
It will be available for free to around 11,000 seafarers sailing on more than 400 vessels under the Isle of Man flag.
Mitchell, who served as a marine engineer at sea for 17 years with shipping lines including Maersk and Farstad, said the introduction of the app is being accelerated to tackle the immense challenges facing seafarers caught in the coronavirus pandemic.
“Even before COVID-19, we recognised that something had to be done that delivered tangible results to help seafarers in the wilderness of the sea,” he said.
“We recognised that while there is support for seafarers in port, through the many brilliant chaplaincies and seafarer charities, the ‘weak link’ is support while at sea. I raised it at the Red Ensign Group and with the seafarer charity ISWAN and it was clear to us that the problem of seafarer mental health was becoming more acute, with seafarers spending more time alone in their cabin than ever before.“
“The app has many functions but a key one is to provide social activities to get seafarers interacting more on-board to combat that isolation,” Mitchell added.
Mitchell revealed the IOM team has produced the app with maritime training organisation Tapiit, which will live stream its support and training sessions via the app.
“The app provides structured welfare support for the seafarer from nutritional advice to live interactive support sessions for mental health and fitness,” he explained.
“The feedback we are receiving from ship owners, both clients and non-clients, is really positive. Ship owners want to find new better ways to help and protect seafarers and want to embrace digital innovation. We hope this app will be a step forward for the industry and make a positive difference to many thousands of seafarers sailing under the Isle of Man flag.”
As informed by Richard Turner, CEO of Tapiit, there is a number of large organisations partnering the app, to be announced soon. As a result, they will be able to offer support, through the app, to crew worldwide both on-board ship and in port.
“The app is designed to make seafarers’ lives easier and happier so it is not a one-off download, it can be so useful and supportive it can become part and parcel of what seafarers do each day,” Turner pointed out.