North P&I Club warns of new technology at sea

Technology such as video calls, emails, mobile devices could actually be more of a hinderance than a help to life at sea, the North P&I Club has warned.

“For some seafarers, having easy access to friends, family and their ongoing domestic problems could lead to increased anxiety compared to the traditional clean break of departure,” Tony Baker, the Club’s loss prevention director, said.

“Rather than chat, play games or even watch videos with other crew members, it is now all too easy to for seafarers to retreat to their cabins with their mobile devices,” he continued. “It is in the general interests of the ship operator, vessel and crew to ensure a decent level of social interaction onboard.”

Other devices such as 3D scanners and printers are also being used to clone and replace the security seals that have been broken after criminals have raided shipping containers, the Club added.

“The seals can be made within 10 minutes and include all the relevant identification marks, so thefts may remain undetected until containers reach their final destinations,” deputy loss prevention director Colin Gillespie said in a release.

“It is important for shipowners and seafarers not to let digital technology completely replace vital shipboard activities such as social interaction, teambuilding and a hands-on, common-sense approach to safety and security.”

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.


  1. The article actually hits the nail on the head by addressing the main reason for the lack of transfer of knowledge from senior experienced people to the juniors who one day shall fill their shoes. The inefficiencies seen on board and the lack of motivation are due to the disconnect caused by availability of cheap entertainment systems form the late nineties onwards, cheap DVD players & portable TVs stated the trend expounded by cheaper phone calls, mobile phones and the Iavailability of internet on board.

    Shipping is one of the few industries where the shipboard personnel, engineers and navigators are not just supervisors but also hands on people, bleeding and sweating to make the transportation unit load, transport, discharge cargo in all sorts of weather.

    The project based nature allows personnel to remain focussed and perform professionally.

    Mixing the article up with the other concerns such as 3D printing and security / theft deflected the blow and bent the nail. This could have been written as a separate article on the use and abuse of technology.

  2. Us seafarers are already grappling with lack of man power onboard, grave rest hour violations ( though green on paper ) , gross neglect of human needs ( still with MLc on watch even the most basics of all, food is inadequate with huge companies still spending 8$ a day on a person . incompetence of the cook among other things) food , sex (a need indeed) , data connectivity ( believe me it’s a need) .It was sad to see such a very backward archaic thinking from a quarter who knows nothing abt this shipping ‘mis’adventure.You do need to write articles on positive technologies like drone usages onboard which could prevent all enclosed space deaths and help reduce work load or stare at running unmanned ships inevitably. (Donno how p&I can gulp the losses at sea if the latter is to happen).

Back to top button