Shipping Company Groningen (SCG) has contracted Castor Marine to fit communications systems to allow it to use 4G mobile phone networks and long-term evolution (LTE) networks
SCG manages a fleet of coastal general, heavy cargo and multipurpose ships following the merger of Feederlines, Navigia and Thorco Shipping Holland in 2016. SCG offers its personnel a crew welfare zone with free internet within the 20 km 4G zone on this fleet.
Castor is supplying a cost-efficient communications system that is always operational, but does not interfere with the crew’s activities, with global 4G connectivity depending on the availability of the mobile, cellular 4G or LTE network.
When SCG ships sail out of the networks’ coverage, communications will seamlessly transition to L-band satellite communications, either Inmarsat Fleet Broadband or Iridium Open Port services.
SCG IT manager Marc van Gemert said this hybrid connectivity package operates without the need for regular intervention and some ships are using 4G communications at the extremity of coverage. “Some of our captains have already reported they had 4G connectivity 45 nautical miles from the coast,” Mr Gemert said.
Castor loaded dedicated software on the Peplink routers on the ships during installation to ensure a seamless failover of connectivity between the 4G and satellite connection, so crew do not notice the transition. This connection allows for real-time data insights from any device.
No matter where the vessel is or with which network it is connected, the software ensures a virtual private network tunnel continues to exist even when the IP addresses change when the vessel connects to another network.
Castor’s 4G communications package includes firewalls for security, wide area networks and real-time monitoring tools for each individual data stream and access point.
4G, LTE and 5G connectivity for shipping will be explained in depth during Riviera’s Maritime Communications Webinar Week from 20 July, use this link for more details