To help these mariners, KVH Industries, Inc., (KVHI) has announced that, effective immediately, all phone calls to the Philippines from vessels using its mini-VSAT Broadband(sm) service will be free during this emergency.
"Filipino seafarers represent more than 20 percent of the world's mariners. In support of the many seafarers whose family and friends have been affected by the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, as of today, there will be no charge for calling the Philippines on any KVH TracPhone(R) system with mini-VSAT Broadband service, on any vessel, anywhere in the world," said Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH's chief executive officer. "We are also offering free digital daily Filipino newspapers from our NewsLink group so that seafarers can keep abreast of the situation. 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 Voice over IP (VoIP) calls will be for the vessel's operations/company phones as well as for crew calling phones. In cases where 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 email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KVH's Crewtoo® social media network for seafarers is also providing up-to-the-minute information regarding relief efforts on the ground in the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms to ever hit land, struck the central regions of the Philippines on November 8th with devastating impact.