British start-up launches digital platform to connect seafarers

Following a period of beta trials, an innovative new platform for seafarers has been launched which combines professional records with skills and experience to benefit the global shipping industry.

Called seaV, the new global service will transform the way the maritime industry records and organises professional experience. It uses ship-tracking data to automatically log voyage details, miles sailed and port call information to build a deeper understanding of individual professional experiences and skills.

As well as tracking live activity, AIS data archives allow seafarers to generate past information thereby creating a complete digital thread of their complete seagoing history.

seaV’s goal is to become the seafarer’s digital companion, going beyond recruitment and job hunting and ultimately handling everything around record keeping and qualifications, job hunting, finance, travel, and flights.

One of its most important purposes is the community function. seaV allows users to connect with other crew, shore-based colleagues, and friends and family, so that stories and experiences can be shared and followed on its forum. At a time when many seafarers have been stranded on ships or struggled to return home during the pandemic, it allows users to evidence what is happening, where they have been, how far they have sailed, and how they have been affected.

The app was developed by British entrepreneurs Will Ellison, a naval architect and marine consultant, and Ed Brunyee who partners with industry experts to build innovative businesses. They previously worked together on a project using AIS ship tracking data to analyse the flow of commodities, providing a unique perspective on the global economy.

Their experience of the shipping industry and time developing innovative uses for ship tracking was the inspiration for seaV.

Ellison says: “The pandemic has made it an incredibly challenging 18 months for seafarers. It’s very important that we hear their stories and seaV can help. Seafarers play a critical role in the global supply chain but all too often this goes unnoticed by us, the end consumer, and to some extent by parts of the shipping industry itself.

“What makes seaV different from other platforms is that it goes well beyond just job hunting and recruitment. Autonomous data capture requires minimum input from the user, but gives them large amounts of rich, interesting content to share with their colleagues, friends and family.”

seaV is available free of charge for both iPhone and Android users, and will generate revenue by providing a platform for in-app services such as recruitment and payments, and selling services that streamline the organisation and management of professional skills across shipping.

“It is encouraging to see an increasing number of initiatives and programmes aimed at helping seafarers, and we hope that seaV will become a focal point for these efforts,” says Brunyee. “However, the majority of new technology and innovation within shipping focuses on the bottom line of shipping companies, rather than benefiting the men and women who make shipping happen. seaV puts the maritime community first.”

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