International maritime workers specially those who are working onboard ships as merchant marine officers and crew members are always looking for ways to make cheap calls to their homes while they are at sea or while their ships are calling new ports. Seaman community mostly consists of Philippines mariners whom are working as crew members and officers in the merchant ships all over the world. Here you can find some tips that are good for the seamen to call their loved ones back in home at very low price.
Methods to call your home.
Calling from ships are usually expensive as those calls are made through satellite service. Also many port authorities don’t allow the usage of the ship board communication system while the ships are staying in their territory.
Crew members can use the public phones while thew are on shore leave. Most of the seaman house assist them to make low priced calls to their homes. Also they can use communication centers to call back their home. Also they can buy IDD calling cards from the local shops and use them through the public call booths.
The best way is to keep one Tri Band mobile phone or one unlocked Smartphone. When ever you are visiting a new country you can get a pre-paid SIM pack and use it to call your home. If you have installed Skype or Viber App in your device you can use the low priced data plan or paid Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi to make calls to desired numbers easily with clear sound reception.
Before you are going to join a ship, buy a good Smartphone from nearest dealer in your home town.
Better to buy a phone with dual SIM card and it should be easy to swap SIM cards as you have to change them from country to country. Other wise every time you have to open the case and to dismantle the battery to change a SIM card.
Always buy International SIM cards for those countries which your ship used to pass regularly.
For example if your ship used to pass Sri Lanka, then buy one SIM card for Sri Lanka. When ver your ship passes the Dondra head area you will have at least one hour of talk time through the Srilanka mobile phone carriers as the signal will be strong in this area. You can reload (top up) these SIM cards through websites from any part of the world by paying through your credit cards..
Like wise mobile phone SIM cards belonging to Singapore, Europe, Malaysia, Indonesia, Malta, South Africa and Panama mobile carriers are too useful to the marine workers as their ships used to pass these areas frequently.
There are many websites provide services to reload any SIM card belonging to any of mobile phone carrier that used to belong to any country.
Keep record of each SIM card, carrier, country, validity date, available balance and the mobile phone number for easy connection with your home.
Some country carriers offer free incoming calls, in that case ask your family in Philippines to call back you through a cheap phone connection from their home town.
So you won’t loose any money.
Never go to roaming mode as it is very expensive and can drain your hard earned money very quickly-
Satellite phones are good for communication and you can make calls from middle of the ocean but the call charge will be US$ 6 per minute.