Glasgow firm sails to the rescue with mobile app to help seafarers find work

A ship is loaded with containers of whisky at Grangemouth docks, Scotlands busiest commercial port. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
A ship is loaded with containers of whisky at Grangemouth docks, Scotlands busiest commercial port. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
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A joint venture between a Scottish marine recruitment company and a Singapore-based software firm is to launch a mobile app that could revolutionise the lives of mariners around the world.

My-Ankaa is designed to improve significantly the way in which mariners manage their certificate portfolios – the papers which are a vital requirement for anyone looking to join a ship’s company.

The online portal is the concept of Ian Livingstone, managing director of Glasgow-based agency Clyde Marine Recruitment (CMR), and was developed in collaboration with ServiceDott, a market leader in software and technology solutions.

Described by its developers as a “world first”, My-Ankaa enables mariners to file and access their certificates and documentation safely and securely in a digital vault. It also allows them to update their CV automatically and maintain accurate sea service records.

The app even alerts users when documents near the end of their validity. In the near future, mariners will also be able to search and apply for jobs and identify training centres.

The app was created in direct response to the growing frustration of those working at sea in keeping track of and sharing of large numbers of hard copy certificates, coupled with the requirement to update continually sea service and qualifications to their CV.

Ian Livingstone said: “There are over one million seafarers located around the world. Working so closely with the marine industry provided first-hand experience of the challenges that they and their companies face on a daily basis.

“The idea for the app was born out of the recognition that there was no platform that provided a full service management system, that would also allow mariners to apply for jobs, update certificates, communicate with others and be ready for the digital future.

“Once the concept was in place, we needed a partner that had the experience to fully understand what was needed and the expertise to create an app that would meet our broad and varied requirements. Together we’ve invested nearly half a million pounds into this product. The feedback we’ve had from the testing phases has been positive and we are confident that my-ankaa will be the start of a significant sea change in how mariners manage their lives.”

The system uses the most up- to- date encryption techniques, ensuring the provision of a fully secure and interactive answer to their needs. Permissions controlled by the individual also allow companies and service providers to access relevant information when required.

Having spotted a gap in the market, CMR, with more than 35 years experience in the global seafaring industry, established a JV partnership with ServiceDott. Together, they formed Ankaa Ltd and went on to fully develop the concept of the app and a complementary portal – my-ankaa.com – at an investment of around £400K.

Suresh Kalpathy, director of ServiceDott, said: “From concept to completion, the key objective for my-ankaa was to create a unique system which would positively transform the way mariners managed their documentation. We worked closely with CMR to deliver a concept that was simple to navigate, effective and enabled easy interaction between employer and employee. The resulting app and portal delivers on all these levels.”

Mr Livingstone added: “Until now, mariners have been required to laboriously maintain their documents. My-ankaa provides piece of mind on certificate validity and allows relevant parties immediate access to information. Now opportunities will be maximised and delays avoided.”