Technology has been one of the great wonders in this 21st century. It has improved all aspects of our everyday lives with improvements in healthcare delivery, ease of communication increase in productivity and generally improving the standard of living globally.
Technology has come to stay and almost every major sector of our society and industry has had its fair share of technology in one way or the other regardless of its pros and cons and the maritime industry has been no exception.
The use of technology has however not come without certain sacrifices and prices to pay (opportunity cost). In a recent conversation with a retired sailor who also doubles as my former lecturer he expressed his view on the price to pay for technology from a rather peculiar angle.
Whiles admitting that the advent of technology among other things has made navigation a little easier for the modern seafarer, thus aids to navigation and navigational aids are quickly displayed and accessible with a click of a bottom, he was however quick to add that this same technology has made the life of a seafarer somehow boring.
He recalled that, not so long ago, after spending weeks on the sea a seafarer was always eager to be at the next port of call because it afforded him the opportunity to visit and spend more time in their new temporal home (the port city). This was possible because it took days if not weeks for operations to be completed on their vessels at the ports and so they had enough time to fraternize with the community before setting sail. This promoted tourism and afforded some folks to make life time acquaintances.
In recent times however, with the improvements in technology leading to the development of better and faster cargo handling equipments, turnaround time for vessels have been reduced drastically. In fact it could just take days or even hours for operations to be completed on vessels. This do not afford seafarers enough time to visit port cities. Seafarers in some instances just stay on board and after few hours set sail again onto the lonely seas.
On a personal opinion this assertion may be true and some how affects tourism as seafarers can no more spend much time and money in the port cities. On the other hand the advantages of the advancements in technology in the industry cannot be over emphasized with reduced turnaround time, safety of life and cargo at sea, ease of navigation among others.
In the nut shell, technology has come to stay and has done more good than harm as far as the maritime industry is concerned and we must all therefore be ready to sacrifice some ‘fun’ aspects of our daily lives to fully embrace technology. Remember the old saying… “ you can never eat your cake and have it”
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