KVH Industries announced that all phone calls to the Philippines from vessels using its mini-VSAT Broadband service will be free because the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan caused has left Filipino seafarers on vessels around the world desperate for news from home.
“Filipino seafarers represent more than 20 percent of the world’s mariners,” KVH CEO Martin Kits van Heyningen said in a statement. “In support of the many seafarers whose family and friends have been affected by the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, as of [Nov. 13] there will be no charge for calling the Philippines on any KVH TracPhone system with mini-VSAT Broadband service on any vessel, anywhere in the world.”
“We are also offering free digital daily Filipino newspapers from our NewsLink group so that seafarers can keep abreast of the situation,” van Heyningen said. “Not knowing if loved ones are safe is extremely difficult in any emergency situation, and it is particularly wrenching for a seafarer who may be halfway around the world from home.”
The free VoIP calls will be for the vessel’s operations/company phones as well as for crew calling phones. In cases when crewmembers currently use a prepaid KVH calling card, the toll rate for calls to the Philippines will be zero.
The complimentary newspapers with local news from the Philippines will be provided to any vessels that request them, whether the vessels are KVH customers or not. To receive NewsLink’s Tagalog-language, digital daily newspaper free, Filipino seafarers are encouraged to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KVH’s Crewtoo social media network for seafarers is also providing current information about relief efforts on the ground in the Philippines.
Typhoon Haiyan, which was one of the most powerful storms to hit land, struck the central regions of the Philippines on Nov. 8.