Gas carrier owner Pacific Gas is investing in faster satellite communications and cyber security as it seeks to expand its fleet and focus
China’s largest owner of liquid ethylene gas (LEG) shipping is installing Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress connectivity across its existing fleet and on new ships.
It will also deploy Inmarsat’s Fleet Secure Endpoint to thwart cyber threats to its fleet. This is multi-layered cyber security that monitors ship systems for security breaches.
Pacific Gas vice president for the fleet Captain Tao Yong said Fleet Xpress will enable the group to connect ships to the shore base and provide greater online access for the crew.
“Fleet Xpress helps us to scale our digital activities and complement the shipmanagement software we installed for resource planning on the vessels,” he said.
“With real-time data exchange, our vessels become an extension to our shore office,” Capt Yong continued. “We base our operational efficiency and performance gains on continuous monitoring and real-time upgrades and assistance.”
Pacific Gas will get greater bandwidth, seamless global coverage, guaranteed performance and 24/7 support available through Fleet Xpress.
This is increasingly important in attracting highly trained seafarers in a competitive market.
“Internet access at sea is also vital for crew welfare and essential to attracting and retaining talented crew,” said Capt Yong.
However, greater access to the internet has its dangers. Always-on connectivity and shipping’s progress towards digitalisation creates new requirements to protect ships against cyber criminals.
Stable connections are vital for a company continuously monitoring its ships remotely using closed-circuit TV for security, for example.
“With our growing dependence on technology and providing open internet access we could be susceptible to cyber attacks,” said Capt Yong. “So, we needed more than a conventional antivirus to protect our systems 24/7 and from the various kinds of evolving threats.
“As a modern shipowner we need to ensure all our vessels are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and security systems that complement Inmarsat’s global, secure and reliable connectivity.”
This is why Pacific Gas is installing Fleet Secure Endpoint to monitor ship systems for threats to endpoints such as malicious software or a crew device with no cyber security installed. If these are identified, the endpoint is reported as a ‘rogue node’ and isolated from the rest of the network until the issue is resolved. Fleet Secure is powered by ESET Endpoint Security.
Pacific Gas operates a fleet of large liquefied petroleum gas and ethylene gas carriers. It plans to expand this focus to include LNG tankers and very large ethane carriers.
Fleet Xpress is a combination of Ka-band connectivity through the Global Xpress constellation and L-band through FleetBroadband.
Connectivity for oil and gas tankers will be in focus at Riviera Maritime Media’s Tanker Shipping & Trade Conference in London on 26-27 November and LNG Ship-Shore Interface Conference Europe on 28-29 November, also in London.
Riviera Maritime Media’s next Optimised Ship Forum will be held in London on 11 December.