Ports should provide wireless internet connections for seafarers, ITF general secretary David Cockcroft has told a conference in the Vatican.
Speaking at Apostleship of the Sea’s (AoS) 23rd international congress, Mr Cockcroft said, “We need to find a new model of work with seafarers; a model that takes into account their reduced access to shore leave.
“Small crews and short turn around times mean that both AoS and ITF face the same difficulties making contact with seafarers when they are in port.
“At the ITF we believe that wireless internet is a vital tool for the seafarers calling in port, or at anchorage, and we all need to be active in promoting shipboard communication so that seafarers are less isolated.
“So please join us in asking the ports where you work to install wireless internet for seafarers to use so that even if they cannot leave the ship while it is in port, they can contact their families cheaply or free.”
He also told the 400 delegates that more port welfare committees should be established and that each ship should pay a levy towards it.
“These organisations are set up to facilitate welfare services to seafarers, and one way this can be done is to agree a port levy, which is a small amount of money paid by each ship which calls in the port to pay for welfare services. Typically, this would be 10 to 20 Euros per ship call.”
He praised AoS in Italy for its work with ITF affiliates and the coastguard to ensure that in more than 20 Italian ports there is a method of support for seafarers who are abandoned, as well as a recognition of the need of chaplaincy services for seafarers.