THE Tas Bull Foundation has initiated a project to bring wifi access to seafarers in Australian ports.
Port Botany is the first port the organisation hopes to install wifi infrastructure in.
Tas Bull Foundation chair Robert Coombs said the foundation has a charter to improve the welfare of visiting seafarers.
“The priority of the [wifi] project is to focus on Port Botany, where infrastructure will need to be developed to provide wifi to ships when berthed at the three container terminals as well as the Bulk Liquids Berth,” he said.
“Seafarers come to our ports from all over the world and many from very disadvantaged backgrounds. Being at sea can be a lonely life and this project is about helping them stay in touch with family and friends back home; providing access to the internet is one thing we can do to help improve the quality of their lives.”
Mr Coombs said the project would likely entail the erection of towers at certain locations around the port.
“We’re told that there are not too many of these facilities around the world, and if we’re able to crack it, we might be a test case,” he said.
“Others can look at it and build on it and hopefully install it themselves.”
The Tas Bull Foundation also this week added a new member, with Wayne Moore joining the board.
Mr Coombs said that the Foundation was thrilled that Mr Moore had come on board.
“He is no stranger to the shipping industry and comes with a wealth of experience as a seafarer where he sailed on a number of Australian ships as a navigational officer and attained Master Class 1 validation,” Mr Coombs said.
“Wayne, as the retired president of the AMOU [Australian Maritime Officers’ Union], will bring a wealth of contacts and industry knowledge to our work.”
The Tas Bull Foundation was established to carry on with the welfare work fo the Sydney Seafarers Centre. It is named in honour of Tas Bull, the former national secretary of the Waterside Workers’ Federation, who played a significant role in establishing a centre to assist visiting seafarers.