Three provides free mobile internet to international seafarers


More than 30 mobile Wi-Fi hotspots provided to help them stay in touch with loved ones via Facebook, Skype, Twitter or email

Three will provide seafarers visiting ports across the UK with free mobile internet as part of a national scheme run in collaboration with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board.

The operator has provided 32 mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to the national charity, aiming to promote welfare services to seafarers and helping them stay in touch with loved ones using Facebook, Skype, Twitter and email.

Each device will be loaded with 15GB of data a month, enough to make 1,500, 10 minute Skype calls per month or send out 75,000 emails. The Mi-Fi devices are enabled with thew latest HSPA+ technology, which Three said provides a faster mobile internet experience than 3G.

Three’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Hugh Davies said: “We have invested heavily in our network so that customers receive the best possible data experience.  This means that when customers connect their smartphone, tablet or laptop, they enjoy effortless streaming, clear internet calls and fast browsing.

“For seafarers, a connection to one of our portable MiFi devices means it’s free and easy for them to stay in contact with loved ones.”

Merchant Navy Welfare Board port welfare manager Carolyn Lewis (pictured right) said: “Working at sea can be very dangerous and isolating. Many contracts will last a minimum of six months and seafarers are expected to work long hours, seven days a week. The lack of communication between seafarers and their families can add to the stress of working at sea.

“Many seafarers visiting UK ports have smartphones but no connectivity while at sea and when on land, international roaming can be very expensive. With this initiative, ship welfare visitors are able to help seafarers get connected and keep in touch with their families and friends even if they’re only in port for a few hours.”