Seafarers are in favor of digitalization of shipping, but at the same time fear it, as they assume that employment opportunities will be reduced by 25% within five years. This is the result of a study published by Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications.
The study “Seafarers in the digital age: prioritizing the human factor in maritime digital transformation” was prepared by the maritime innovation consulting company Thetius on behalf of Inmarsat.
After surveying maritime and shore-based personnel about the impact of digital technologies on their health and well-being, training and careers, job retention and productivity, Thetius describes seafarers’ attitudes toward new technologies as “generally positive.” That said, the study also found that shipping companies and technology providers have work to do to change crewmembers’ fears about digital transformation at sea.
The study shows that 1 in 3 seafarers choose personal access to digital technology as a key factor when considering an upcoming job. Additionally, for 1 in 4 respondents, internet availability on board is a higher priority than pay.
The shipping industry is fairly responsive to the needs of seafarers to connect to the World Wide Web: 78% of the surveyed operators said that in the last five years, installed onboard the Internet for personal use of the fleet workers.
The report also showed that seafarers see the risks of widespread digital adoption. Half of respondents expect employment opportunities to decline by 25% within five years.