The Red Ensign Group continues to lead the way in seafarer welfare as the Isle of Man Ship Registry gets set to launch the first ever app designed by a ship registry to support them.
Isle of Man Ship Registry director Cameron Mitchell said the app is in the final stages of development and is set go live later this month. It will be available for free to around 11,000 seafarers sailing on more than 400 vessels under the Isle of Man flag.
Cameron, who served as a marine engineer at sea for 17 years, said the introduction of the app is being accelerated to tackle the immense challenges facing seafarers caught in the coronavirus pandemic.
"Safety is a fundamental pillar of our ethos as a high-quality flag state,” he said. “Even before COVID-19 we recognised that something had to be done that delivered tangible results to help seafarers in the wilderness of the sea.
"We recognised that while there is support for seafarers in port, through the many brilliant chaplaincies and seafarer charities, the ‘weak link’ is support while at sea. I raised it at the Red Ensign Group and with the seafarer charity ISWAN and it was clear to us that the problem of seafarer mental health was becoming more acute, with seafarers spending more time alone in their cabin than ever before. The app has many functions but a key one is to provide social activities to get seafarers interacting more on-board to combat that isolation."
Cameron said the IOM team has produced the app with maritime training organisation Tapiit, which will live stream its support and training sessions via the app.
"The app provides structured welfare support for the seafarer from nutritional advice to live interactive support sessions for mental health and fitness,” he said. “The feedback we are receiving from ship owners, both clients and non-clients, is really positive. Ship owners want to find new better ways to help and protect seafarers and want to embrace digital innovation. We hope this app will be a step forward for the industry and make a positive difference to many thousands of seafarers sailing under the Isle of Man flag.”