Speedcast International has sold a key satellite communications service package to Inmarsat as it slowly emerges from bankruptcy protection
Inmarsat will be responsible for servicing all ships and vessels that were signed up by Speedcast for Fleet Xpress, FleetBroadband and Fleet One services. This agreement marks another significant step for Speedcast as it attempts to emerge from its US bankruptcy protection Chapter 11 proceedings.
Transferring these service contracts is part of Speedcast’s financial restructuring and will end its sale of Inmarsat’s Ka-band connectivity, Global Xpress, through Fleet Xpress packages.
Speedcast vice president for commercial maritime Andre Eerland said this agreement enables the company to strengthen its focus in the commercial maritime sector for its Ku-band VSAT services and L-band back-up capabilities. “Taking this step allows us to consolidate our core connectivity services, which are scalable across all market needs, while remaining at the forefront of the maritime industry,” said Mr Eerland.
Speedcast will continue to offer managed services to the commercial maritime sector with its primary Ku-band VSAT and mobile satellite services as companion services. This will include Iridium Certus and Inmarsat’s Fleetbroadband.
For Inmarsat, this agreement provides security and continuity of service for vessel operators already using Fleet Xpress, FleetBroadband and Fleet One satellite communications. “Our first priority is to ensure these transitioning Speedcast customers can continue to access Inmarsat’s reliable global maritime connectivity services and our growing range of value-added services now and into the future,” said Inmarsat Maritime president Ronald Spithout.
“With Inmarsat’s ongoing, fully funded technology roadmap, these customers will benefit from the next-generation of Ka-band and L-band satellites we are launching over the next few years,” Mr Spithout continued. “These will provide both additional capacity and capabilities to the network.”
Inmarsat is investing in seven new satellites, scheduled for launch in the next four years, to augment its existing Global Xpress constellation and boost L-band communications.
Through its Speedcast agreement, Inmarsat will take on management of the transitioned contracts and 24/7 operations and support for customers through its network operations and customer support centres.
Speedcast opted for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it accumulated unmanageable debts through its previous expansion through corporate acquisitions.
In another deal, Greece-headquartered SRH Marine Group has acquired the contracts and operations from Germany’s Pro Nautas, including the fleet management agreements for navigation and communication services and airtime/connectivity contracts following the financial implosion of Pro Nautas, strengthening SRH Marine’s position in northern European markets.
“By acquiring the activities of Pro Nautas, we expand our geographical footprint for these services. Now, our customers in northwest Europe will benefit from our proximity,” said SRH Marine managing director Theodoros Nikolopoulos.
SRH Marine chairman John Laderos said acquiring the Pro Nautas contracts and operations was a logical next step in the group’s expansion. “SRH Marine envisions to become the global household name for nautical services,” he said.
Pro Nautas has offices in Hamburg, Germany and provides services in the Netherlands, Belgium and northern France.
SRH Marine supports vessel navigation, automation, radio communications and connectivity, providing spares, retrofits and repairs.
In October, NSSLGlobal launched its smart maintenance plans after recruiting an established team of navigation and communications engineers from troubled Pro Nautas.
These agreements and acquisitions highlight the fluidity of the ship bridge systems and communications sector, demonstrating the rising appetite for delivering navigation and connectivity services.
However, they also highlight the challenges with remaining financially stable in markets affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, while investing in technology as shipowners continue to push to reduce operating costs.
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