[1 July 2014] As the pioneer and leader in serving the communication needs of Filipino seafarers, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) partnered with the Marine Industry Authority (MARINA) in paying tribute to Pinoy mariners during the recent celebration of the Day of the Seafarer.
As the pioneer and leader in serving the communication needs of Filipino seafarers, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) partnered with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in paying tribute to Pinoy mariners during the recent celebration of the Day of the Seafarer.
A campaign by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Day of the Seafarer highlights the valuable social and economic contribution of all seafarers around the world.
In the Philippines, MARINA led the festivities with the theme, ‘Pinoy Seafarers: Proudly moving the world,” which underscores the significant presence of nearly 400,000 Filipino seafarers presently deployed overseas, comprising about a fourth of the global maritime fleet.
With their hard work, Filipino seafarers keep the national economy afloat with remittances of over USD 5.21 billion in 2013, and around USD 1.81 billion just in the first four months of the year, based on data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Sailing ambassadors of the country
“Filipino seafarers are trusted and highly valued. In fact, they are the preferred choice of ship operators who recognize their outstanding qualities: technically competent, hardworking and imbued with a strong sense of duty,” said Atty. Gloria Bañas, MARINA OIC-Administrator and Deputy Administrator for Operations in a speech during the opening ceremonies at the MARINA head office in Kalaw, Manila.
“They are praised as the country’s sailing ambassadors as they proudly exhibit the best traits of the Filipino before the world maritime community,” she added.
Smart joined the celebrations, which featured a whole day of fun contests, raffle and entertainment at MARINA offices nationwide.
Smart mounted stations offering free calls for seafarers, and photo booths, as well as stalls showcasing its portfolio of services for seafaring Pinoys at select MARINA offices in Manila, Batangas, Cagayan De Oro, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, Legazpi, Surigao, Tacloban, La Union and Zamboanga.
Smart Marino PhonePal and Marino TextMate
“Smart honors Pinoy seafarers, who go through a lot of sacrifices just to provide for their families,” said Tina Mariano, head of Smart’s Global Access Group. “That is why Smart has always led in introducing efficient and affordable ways to keep them in touch with their loved ones, who motivate them and keep them going,” she said.
In October last year, Smart introduced Marino PhonePal, a prepaid satellite communications service that enables seafarers to make voice calls even at the middle of the sea, with the lowest “call home” satellite rates at PHP18 per minute.
The wide coverage of Marino PhonePal is unmatched by competitors, whose calling service could only work in areas where there is a GSM signal – just like any ordinary roaming service.
Smart also now offers Marino TextMate, an SMS service that allows seafarers to send text messages to the Philippines when they are off-vessel on foreign ports, anchorages, or wherever there is a GSM signal for only PHP2 per message.
Peace of mind while sailing the seas
“With these services, Pinoy seafarers can stay close to their family wherever they are. Using Marino PhonePal, they have the peace of mind of being able to call their loved ones even if they are sailing the oceans, where there is no cellular coverage,” explained Mariano. “On the other hand, they could rely on Marino TextMate when they are docked in ports so they are able to send text messages at very affordable rates,” she added.
Modern communication services such as these address vital concerns of Pinoy seafarers, who experience bouts of loneliness on top of their heavy workload, said Bañas.
“Now, Filipinos may bravely sail the seas knowing that through the latest communication services, they are able to sustain their emotional connection with their families wherever they go,” she said.