AN Australian company has launched a touch-free payment platform for the maritime industry.

Secure Seas said its electronic payment platform provides financial security to seafarers by transferring their pay electronically.

The platform removes the antiquated and problematic system of cash distribution in US dollars. This provides seafarers with basic facilities the rest of us take for granted: full access to their funds in their preferred currency, use of an international, non-jurisdictional bank account and debit card to withdraw cash or transfer funds home, and the ability to transfer payments via PC or smartphone.

Secure Seas director Warwick Norman said although the platform was designed with the welfare and human rights of the seafarer at its heart, it also provides significant benefits for employers.

“The simplified, streamlined payroll process means there is no need for excess levels of cash onboard or foreign currency accounts – and so it also reduces the risk of piracy and corruption,” Mr Norman said.

“The ability for contactless payment is also particularly relevant with the current pandemic: it unfortunately remains the case that seafarers are not allowed off ships in most ports.”

Seafarers themselves have been enthusiastic early adopters of the system, signing up directly via the Secure Seas website.

Secure Seas also encourages ship owners and crew managers to investigate the platform, which – aside from the humanitarian benefits it provides seafarers – is a cost-effective payroll process that integrates easily with existing systems, improving the transparency and financial management of vessel operations.

Secure Seas CEO James McCully said there are substantial benefits for ship-management companies to have offshore banking facilities in a secure and regulated jurisdiction.

“The significant fee reduction for pay dissemination alone makes a compelling business case for the use of the Secure Seas payments platform,” Mr McCully said.

“However, in the end, it is the human element that drives our business. A significant proportion of our profits will be reinvested in seafarer centres to help them provide the much-needed support for seafarers.”

Secure-Seas has appointed Cyprus-based Evrostia Financial Services for representation in Greece and Cyprus. Evrostia’s chairman, Andreas Grammatikos, has significant experience in the development and administration of insurance, banking and bancassurance products and services.

Secure Seas’ electronic payment platform offers a convenient multi-currency payroll solution to global shipping organisations and their employees, who will benefit from lower banking and foreign exchange costs and greater security & convenience whilst travelling in their jobs.

The founding directors of Secure Seas, through their various careers in the maritime industry and work with seafarer welfare, recognised the complexity, cost and inefficiencies of the incumbent seafarer payroll system, as well as the benefits a modern program would bring to both seafarers and their employers.

A desire to alleviate the unnecessary burden bought by the maritime industry’s antiquated payroll systems saw the re-development of the Secure Seas electronic payment platform with full bank resources released in 2021.