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Inmarsat, Thetius and Shell launch crew welfare open innovation challenge

Satellite communications giant Inmarsat has joined forces with Shell Shipping and Maritime and maritime digital consultancy Thetius to launch a new ‘Open Innovation Challenge’ for start-ups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The challenge aims to identify technology that can benefit crew safety, health and wellbeing at sea at a moment when Covid-19 has exposed the welfare of seafarers to global scrutiny.

The six-week Open Innovation Challenge is looking for novel solutions that have the potential to improve crew safety and welfare across four innovation challenge areas spanning deck safety, fatigue, administration reduction and overall wellbeing.

“We are seeking applications for solutions from start-ups and SMEs who want to conduct a proof of concept onboard a vessel supported by Shell Shipping and Maritime and Inmarsat,” said Nick Chubb, a Splash columnist and managing director of Thetius, who will run the challenge.

Finalists will be invited to pitch their idea to a decision-making jury at the end of September. The majority of the jury will be made up of serving seafarers, with representatives from Inmarsat, Shell Shipping and Maritime and the welfare sector also taking part.

The team behind the chosen idea will be awarded a £10,000 ($13,000) cash grant to test their idea by implementing a proof of concept onboard a vessel and the winning start-up will also receive support from Thetius, Inmarsat and Shell Shipping and Maritime.

Last month Inmarsat and Thetius launched a new report, which highlighted the current lack of funding for crew welfare technology that has hindered its development so far.

To submit an entry to the Open Innovation Challenge click here.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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