The challenge will fund and test an application that improves the safety of deck operations, minimises fatigue on board and improves crew welfare.
Mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat has joined forces with Shell Shipping and Maritime and maritime digital consultancy Thetius to launch a new Open Innovation Challenge for startups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The challenge aims to identify technology that can benefit crew safety, health and wellbeing at sea at a moment when Covid-19 has exposed the welfare of seafarers to global scrutiny.
The six-week Open Innovation Challenge is looking for novel solutions that have the potential to improve crew safety and welfare across four areas spanning deck safety, fatigue, administration reduction and overall wellbeing.
From the submitted applications, the successful solutions will be invited to pitch their idea to a decision-making jury at the end of September. The majority of the jury will be made up of serving seafarers, with representatives from Inmarsat, Shell Shipping and Maritime and the welfare sector also taking part.
The team behind the chosen idea will be awarded $13,071 cash grant to test their idea by implementing a proof of concept on board a vessel and the winning startup will also receive support from Shell Shipping and Maritime, Thetius and Inmarsat.
We are seeking applications for solutions from startups and SMEs who want to conduct a proof of concept on board a vessel supported by Shell Shipping and Maritime and Inmarsat, said Nick Chubb, Managing Director of Thetius, who will run the Challenge. Startups and solution providers who apply to the Open Innovation Challenge will be required to submit a pitch that details their proposed solution and a proof of concept onboard a Shell vessel.
Shell is committed to improving the safety and wellbeing of seafarers, said Richard Holdsworth, Shells Maritime Ventures Lead. We are excited to learn more and help support new technologies that could make a difference to the welfare of crews.
Last month Inmarsat and Thetius launched a new report Welfare 2.0: How can the next generation of technology enable better crew safety, health and wellbeing at sea?, which highlighted the current lack of funding for crew welfare technology that has hindered its development so far.
Our report last month shone a light on the need for far greater support and investment in crew welfare technology, said Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime. This collaboration and challenge are designed to help nurture and develop solutions that can help improve the lives of seafarers.