Serco NorthLink Ferries in European first with digital crew management
Serco NorthLink Ferries has become the first European ferry operator to introduce a pioneering digital platform that helps maritime operators to manage their crews.
Ankaa Marine is a unique cloud-based portal and app for collecting, storing and processing seafarer information. It replaces outdated software applications or even paper-based systems and is the only product of its type available on the market.
The simple and easy to use interface connects directly with employees in real time and offers the company a simple overview and analytics of the crew pool.
NorthLink, has around 370 marine staff who, alongside the crewing department, will benefit directly from the innovation.
Ankaa Ltd is a new company set up by marine specialist employment firm Clyde Marine Recruitment, which has been managing seafarers for almost four decades. NorthLink Ferries’ two freight vessels, Helliar and Hildasay, were instrumental in the product development and field testing.
Ian Livingstone, managing director of Ankaa, said: “The maritime community has always been challenged with effectively managing, sharing and ensuring validity of seafarer’s data. This has become more difficult with tightening data privacy legislation globally. The maritime world has been slow to adopt digital solutions and reluctant to embrace collaboration. We were very frustrated with the products available on the market being unable to offer a user-friendly but complete approach to industry-wide problems. Ankaa Marine was specifically designed by seafarers for seafarers to offer the sector a simple solution.”
Stuart Garrett, Serco’s managing director for NorthLink Ferries, added: “We never stand still and are always looking for ways to improve our operations. Usually this is for the benefit of our customers. But on this occasion, we’re pleased to be doing something directly for our staff, ensuring that we keep up with technology and bring the benefits of digital services to our unique workplace. This is a proven solution to something that affects every maritime operator and we’re proud to be in at the start of a transformation in crew management.”