We all do it. Every port, our number one concern when the ship is alongside is internet SIM cards and where to buy them. Seafarers don’t want women anymore! We junked those false myths overboard already.
Having an internet connection is like having an orgasm but lasts longer- as long as we have the signal. If you don’t agree with me, how often do you buy SIM cards than going out for jiggy-jiggy?
Why Seafarers Want To Get Connected
There are three very important questions a seafarer asks to visitors coming on board.
- “What’s the best internet SIM Card here?”
- “Where can I buy one?” and…
- “How much does it cost?”
You see, it’s all about connectivity. Other people outside the maritime industry still think that seamen always look for jiggy-jiggy. But that’s history.
It has been proven many times that when we are in port, we immediately search for wifi or any form of internet connection.
There is a continuing rise in the demand for internet on board but only a few companies are able to provide it to their crew. That’s why we always pray for some businessmen to us.
Family is Number One
Filipinos are closely attached to their loved ones. We are famous for this trait. Even other nationalities on board notice it very well
The very first thing that Filipino seafarers do when going online is to message their family. They have to inform their wife that they are already in port and in safe condition.
Not doing so is a mortal sin. If you fail to report, expect a ton of questions that are worse than every Port State Control inspection you’ll ever have.
After reporting to your loved ones, you can have other freedoms like browsing on Facebook and engaging your friends’ silly posts.
Life On Board is Monotonous and Boring
It’s not all glam and fame as what other people think about our work. While social media highlights the best travels of seafarers, this is not the whole story.
In fact, that is only 10% of our sea life. The remaining 90% is hidden. We usually don’t have enough time to do photo ops while working. It’s either dangerous or we are just too busy.
The truth is, life at sea is boring and monotonous. Imagine working with 20 people in 6 months with the same things over and over and over again. Yes, your social life is only that much.
After work, you can choose to bond with them and watch the same old movies in the dayroom 10 times because there aren’t new ones.
My Castle is Under Attack!
For millennials out there, it’s a disaster to leave your online game. Everything could go wrong. The base that you built for sleepless nights might get looted. You will get left behind by your friends as they level up.
The point is, that everyone has a hobby on the World Wide Web. It’s either anime, movies, books, games, blogs, news, YouTube, and whatnot.
These things help keep our sanity intact and speed up our contract. For some advanced seamen, their hobby online is a source of income!
Problems With Internet SIM Cards
Internet SIM card is the solution for those without wifi on ships. There are many international roaming SIM cards out there that claim to be number one in their own way.
However, owning them also comes with other challenging problems. Budget.
You work so hard on board. Because you value your money so much, you do everything to minimize expenses even for shore leave.
But then, it would be quite shocking if you found out that you spent more than $500.00 for internet SIM Cards alone in a single contract especially if you are a cadet. That’s insane!
Your phone is in roaming mode when the SIM card that you bought from one country is used in another country. The roaming charges for calls, texts, and data are incredibly high because you are using an overseas network provider.
There are international roaming SIM cards out there that offer internet service wherever you are. However, the rates they charge are very expensive.
We all experienced the unbelievably high charges from overseas networks that siphoned our credit in just a matter of minutes. It’s a ruthless experience that we will never forget.
Every Place, Replace
Nope. We are not talking about women here. The only thing we replace on every port is our SIM card and that could be pricey.
As we travel to different countries, we also have to buy their local SIMs. The cost will eventually accumulate even if we’re buying it for less than $20.00.
Sometimes, it would take days to finally acquire an internet SIM card. Shops could be far away and who else wants to spend twenty dollars for a one-way taxi to go ashore to buy them?
I remember purchasing 8 SIM cards in Mallorca. It took me almost an hour to finish the transaction since my passport and many paperwork were required.
Then I had to walk for more than an hour to get back to our ship and be on time for my 6 to 12 watch. Oh, the things we do for the internet!
Long Time Anchorage
The perfect place to enjoy your internet is at the anchorage. Watchmen would benefit from this, especially at night. You just hope that your officers are considerate enough that no job orders will be given.
But where can you buy an internet SIM card when you are at anchor? In some parts of Africa, you can exchange old PPEs with SIM cards from fishermen. You know the drill.
But what if you are in Europe with an overwhelming signal surrounding you at the anchorage?
It sucks when you don’t have one and you are at anchor for ten days. But now, that’s just about to change.
Introducing My Three Internet SIM Card
My Three Internet offers a variety of SIM cards ranging from 3GB for three months to 24GB for a full 2 years! Top-ups are very easy and can be completed online in less than three minutes.
But the most brilliant feature is their “Feel At Home” destination in 71 countries worldwide.
What is My Three UK?
Three UK is a British telecommunications and internet service provider which launched on March 2003 providing 4G and 5G services through its own network infrastructure. During that time, Three UK was only used within the United Kingdom.
In 2009, they grew their network by offering roaming services free of charge in a few select countries.
As the years went by, they expanded to more countries by adding more “Feel At Home” destinations still offering roaming texts, calls, and data with no extra cost.
Today, Three UK SIM cards can be used in 71 different countries around the world at no roaming charge.
Feel at Home Destinations
Roaming charges suck, right? Well, not anymore.
The best feature that I like about them is their “Feel at Home” destination. In other simpler words, they scrapped roaming charges in 71 countries worldwide.
You can use My Three in these countries with the same charges when using it in the UK.
You may ask,
“Why only 71 countries? Why not the whole world?”
I think it boils down to business, as usual. Countries have different policies regarding telecommunications and it’s not that easy to penetrate their network. But hey, 71 countries are already plenty!
Here’s a big YES: Most of it is in Europe and in the United States.
Because of Three’s Feel at Home destinations, you can browse the internet as much as you want without having to worry about roaming charges.
How to Get the SIM
Previously, we could only buy My Three SIM cards in ports around the United Kingdom. But that didn’t stop us from buying one even if your voyage is not in those waters. I’ll tell you how we did it.
You can ask a friend or an ex-crewmate who travels there. Just make sure you pay him enough.
If your voyage is in the UK, you can just go for a shore leave and find some malls. The locals will help you out for guidance. You can also check Google Maps to see if there is a Three Shop near your area.
In our case, we let the agent do the work. Before arrival, we asked our Captain to buy My Three Internet SIM cards through the ship’s agent.
When he comes during our arrival, that’s the time we will pay him. We have done that many times already and it worked well.
But now, this SIM card is everywhere! You can buy it on Amazon, Shopee, or Lazada and deliver it to your doorstep.
Topping-up My Three
Buying the SIM is great. However, you will inevitably run out of data. You will also not be sure when your ship returns to the UK. But this is not a problem.
You can choose to stack up many SIM cards for future use or just buy one and use it for a lifetime. In my case, I only bought one and do monthly top-ups when my data is consumed. It’s very easy.
Personally, I use and recommend Mobile Top Up for topping up. From there, choose My Three and the amount you want. You may have to have a credit card or a PayPal account for your payment.
Once you have completed topping up, dial 333 on your phone and follow the voice instructions. You will also be given an option to complete your balance into add-ons.
What are Data Packs?
Data packs are your allowance of data, or the one you use to connect to the internet. Additionally, you get unlimited calls and texts to the other Three numbers within Go Roam destinations.
These internet offers are the best in the market with the rates being very affordable in relation to its data bundles. I mean, where can you get 25GB worth of data for only GBP15.00? What’s more, you can use it in 71 countries!
The image here sums it up.
What is an Add-on?
An add-on is an additional allowance that you can get when you run out of data in your data packs. It converts your existing top-up into data, calls, and texts.
Simply put, an add-on is similar to your Globe or Smart load where you register for a promo like call, texts, internet, or a combination thereof.
Add-ons vary depending on the amount of your top-up. A GBP5.00 add-on gives you unlimited internet usage for a day. Longer-term add-ons that last for 30 days are a bit cheaper but give less data allowance.
Calling 333 will help you which add-on to choose from depending on your budget. Did I mention that this is very easy to do?
You can even let your wife or girlfriend do the whole process from topping up at https://www.mobiletopup.co.uk to converting it to an add-on.
When it’s done, activate your data roaming on your phone, and voila, you will be connected again online. Just make sure to do this in one of the 71 Go Roam destinations.
Having My Three in your arsenal is one of the best decisions you will make even if you don’t frequently travel to the UK.
Whenever you are in any one of those 71 Fee at Home countries, you can do top-ups with the help of someone from the Philippines.
It’s perfect when you are at the anchorage for many days and have fewer things to do. It gives you more time to use it than waiting to go alongside where the operation could last in less than 3 days.
You will have the freedom to connect with your family. Some of your crewmates will be surprised wondering how on earth you are doing it.
May the winds be in your favor.