Kotug International is investing in faster satellite communications on its fleet of tugs providing towage services on the world’s largest floating LNG production project in Australia
Inmarsat will provide Fleet Xpress hybrid satellite communications hardware and services to Kotug International’s fleet supporting Shell’s giant Prelude floating LNG project.
Global Xpress Ka-band VSAT antennas and L-band FleetBroadband hardware will be installed on the vessels operating off Western Australia.
This follows a six-month trial using Fleet Xpress on 100-tonne bollard pull tug Roebuck Bay to demonstrate the performance and benefits to the owner.
Kotug corporate IT manager Hans Boele examined requirements and assessed feedback on the trials. He said the connectivity solution needed to be “future-proof and scalable” because of the long-term company commitment to Western Australia, which also includes operating tugs at bulk export terminals in Port Headland.
“Equipping our vessels with well-functioning broadband supports our crew because it enables them to keep in contact with their relatives and our headquarters,” said Mr Boele. “It also provides uninterrupted access to the onboard entertainment system.”
Fleet Xpress connectivity will enable Kotug to deploy vessel management efficiencies that tap into the group’s wider strategy for ICT, said Mr Boele.
“We also needed terms that took account of flexibility on usage, because the demands placed on the service can vary as towage assistance, personnel transfer and standby duty needs change. In addition, our vessels provide medical support and facilities,” he said.
Kotug’s vessels support LNG carriers offshore berthing close to the Prelude LNG production plant, which is arguably the largest and most expensive ship ever built. They are used for emergency response and other services to the LNG export project.
These vessels were operated by KT Maritime Services Australia, a 50/50 joint venture between Kotug Australia and Teekay Shipping Australia Pty, but in April this year, ownership of these vessels was transferred to a full subsidiary of Kotug group.
Inmarsat provides Kotug with a flexible connectivity plan with confirmed and maximum information rates for data transfer and crew connectivity. It also provides onboard information and entertainment packages on these tugs.
Kotug already deploys Fleet Xpress on its tugs operating in west Africa, where it operates two Rotortugs at an oil terminal in Limbe, Cameroon. It uses satellite communications on other tugs in the fleet.
Kotug is in a joint venture with Boskalis, Kotug Smit Towage, that provides harbour towage in ports in northern Europe and is being sold to Boluda Group.
Inmarsat is in the middle of a major investment campaign in its Global Xpress constellation of Ka-band satellites with up to eight new units set to be launched in the next five years.
GX network growth
Existing network: four satellites GX1-4
Smart Tug Operations Conference will be held in Singapore on 16 September 2019