Calling Sri Lanka From Ships & Airplanes.

6:33 AM 1/9/2022

Calling Sri Lanka from ships and Airplanes is possible with VHF radio communication and via Satilite phones. There are many seafarers in Sri Lanka who take jobs in the merchant vessels and cruise ships that are operating in the high seas. Meanwhile there are many other seamen from other countries too are working in the International and costal line operating ships around Sri Lanka region. They can call their homes while passing Sri Lanka with the assistance of their ship radio's operator or through their deck officers. The ship radio operator will contact a costal radio station and will get the necessary phone connection between the ship phone and the desired phone line. After making the phone call the costal radio station will inform the call;s price and the money can be deducted from the seafarers' wages paper.

The phone will give one way connection only through these kinds of cheap connections. The person in the ship has a speaking mic with a press button. When he doesn’t press the button he can listen anything from the other side. Pressing this button he can speak and the person in the other end can listen to the person from the ship. Normally the ship person will finish with the word "Over" and release the button. Then from the other end person can speak and the person from the ship can listen to it through the speaker system.

In the meantime Officers in ships along with crew members can make local calls through thier when passing Colombo Area through their mobile phones. If they have Sri lanka SIM card it will be charged under local and IDD call charge. If they have foreign SIM cards, they can make their calls through the Roaming facility.

Simple VHF calling Guide:
When the person finished his sentence he should say over and release the button on the mic, so the other person in the land can start to the conversation. Once he finishes the sentence he also must say over. So the person in the ship will press the button in the mic and will start to speak. Like this they have to make the call. So the person in the land must understand that his voice will not reach to the person in the ship when the person in the ship is talking to him.

Latest calling system through the satellite phone service is now available in modern ships and air planes. This phone call is expensive but it allows both parties to make conversation just like normal phone calls. The passengers in the air lines need to pay for the phone calls through credit card to the flight staff. In merchant vessels seaman will be charged for their calls through their pay slips. In cruise ships the passengers will be charged at the end of their journey, if they have made an advance deposit for the International call services.

Call from Ship.

If you want to call a passenger or a passenger or an officer or a crew member on a commercial cruise ship it is not easy to do the calling from land. First you must contact the ship operating company to find out where the ship is at this moment. Also you can use systems like Call ship to locate the desired ship through the internet connected web sites. But you can send a telex message to that person with the ships call sign and can ask to call you back from the ship, if it is on sailing.

Then you must find out the express code of that cruise ship. Each ship has it's own unique call sign. The call sign will identify the particular ship. Once you found out all the details you can call that ship by using the direct for a toll free number. The bills will come to your credit card or to your home telephone bill by your calling method. The call charge may be around $ 6.95 per minute.

Call from airplane.

Most of the long distance flying air lines have on-board satellite phone call facility. To make a phone call to your home country or somewhere else, contact the crew of the air line to assist you to make the call. The call charges must be paid through your credit card or debit card. Normally a call to the New York, U.S.A will cost you U.S$ 6.25 per minute. Also there are many air lines allow passengers to use their own Smartphone to make calls, send and receive SMS text messages and email without any disturbance to the flight or to the other passengers If you have your roaming enabled Smartphone while on flight ask the flight attendant whether it is possible to use your mobile phone onboard.

Maritime Roaming

Sri Lanka offers maritime roaming where the mobile phone owner is allowed to call and receive phone calls inside some of the selected cruise ships and ferries. Also other than call service you can send and receive SMS short messages in those selected cruise ships and ferries. This maritime roaming facility is currently available for the Mobitel customers. This service is best for those Sri Lanka seamen who are engaged in those selected cruise ships and ferries. In this maritime roaming mode, if you want to make calls first you have to include the international prefix 00 or + and the country code along with the phone number. For more information on maritime roaming activation and call rate you must contact the hotline of the carrier.

Phone Calls from Yachts.

The caption of the vessel can keep a certified satellite phone with him and call any time from any part of the world thorough this Sat- Phone. Normally it will cost around US$ 6.50 per minute. Latest iPhone and Android Smartphones too can be operated as satellite phones through by installing the proper App from Apple iTunes or Google Play Store. Thuraya - "Thuraya SatSleeve+ supports the communication needs of all Smartphone users - from frequent travelers and adventurous explorers to corporate and NGO users. It provides customers with access to phone calls, emails, instant messages and popular social media apps in satellite mode across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia."

Note: With the latest mobile phone technology phone carriers detect their subscriber’s phone position and if they cross the International boarder such as Airport or Harbor they switch the mobile phone in to roaming mode. So check out for any SMS messages or Carrier notice in the harbor area to tell you about the roaming mode.



A Note to you

Public holidays, Sundays and Poya days are the best time to make low priced calls to any part of the world from Sri Lanka through out the day and night.

International country code of Sri Lanka is +94 or 0094.