Fragmented digital connectivity and security at sea

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This paper explores how uneven and often unreliable digital connections shape the patterns and routines of life, work and rest for seafarers, during long periods at sea. Such fragmented connections, which surface when the ship moves in and out of connectivity or when onboard data allowances run out, create a series of uncertainties that might unsettle individual and collective notions of security. Ethnographic in nature, the study engaged 43 seafarers on board two container ships in European waters, during two two-week voyages between February and April 2018. This provided an empirically grounded exploration of how digitally facilitated connections, relations and networks, enabled through increasingly connected ships, shape and reshape seafarer lives. Findings from this study demonstrate the creative ways in which seafarers navigate and negotiate digitally facilitated connections to maintain relational ties with family and friends. The paper concludes by setting out future research directions and practical implications that speak to connectivity and security at sea.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104289
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date12 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2020

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