How this technology will help seafarers to Gladstone
An extraordinary new piece of technology will make it easier for seafarers who visit the Gladstone region to contact their families overseas.
Looking more like a large suitcase than a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, Maritime Safety Queensland
(MSQ) teamed up with Telstra, Insite Communications, the Port Welfare Committee and not-for-profit Gladstone Seafarers Centre’s to trial the Wi-Fi units.
With the assistance of Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC), the Wi-Fi unit, which is the first of its kind in Queensland, will be used aboard vessels at anchorage.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) had teamed up with Telstra, Insite Communications and not-for-profit Seafarer Centres to trial “Wi-Fi in a box” units for seafarers.
“There are 1.65 million seafarers working around the world and many have not been able to take shore leave, or even leave their ships for short periods, because of COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr Butcher said.
“Many of these ships lack the means of providing their crew with internet access and if they can’t come ashore they can’t contact their families or access services such as counselling.
“That can be incredibly isolating for these workers who are keeping our supply lines running and helping our economic recovery from the pandemic.
“In Queensland we are committed to ensuring decent working and living conditions for seafarers, so we’ve been looking at ways to improve their situation.
“I am a big supporter of Gladstone’s Mission to Seafarers, the team do an incredible job assisting over 12,000 seafarers that visit their centre every year.
“MSQ got together with Telstra and Insite Communications, who have developed and donated two portable Wi-Fi units for use by seafarers on ships anchored or berthed in the ports of Gladstone and Abbot Point.”
Gladstone Seafarers Centre general manager Jess Mullhall said this vital service would enable
Seafarers on-board to have much needed communications with loved ones.
“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,” Ms Mullhall said.
“The joint project between MSQ, Telstra, Insite Communications, the Port Welfare Committee and the Gladstone Seafarers centre, with the support of GPC, will undergo a six-month trial, our hope is to see this inputter permanently.”
If the trial proves successful, it could be rolled out to other Queensland ports through not-for-
profit Seafarer Centres.
GPC Acting CEO Craig Walker said their pilots and transfer crews played a central role in supporting the trial program.
“Our crews will assist with the drop-off of the Wi-Fi box to vessels out at anchorage,” Mr Walker said.
“Our Gladstone Marine Pilot Services crews are internationally recognised for their efficiency and safety.
“At GPC we are home to a professional and dedicated team of pilots who will be supporting the program.
“We have strong and trusting relationships with our customers and are pleased to be helping their crews at this crucial time when they are away from their families for so long.”
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