Wallem Group, Spliethoff, Wagenborg Shipping and Parakou have all decided to deploy VSAT across their fleets to enhance crew welfare and business communications
Shipmanagement groups and specialised dry cargo ship operators have invested in VSAT to enhance connectivity for their crews and improve business communications. The shipmanagement side of Wallem Group has opted for Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress Ka-band solution for ships it operates. The installation of the communications equipment on bulkers, tankers and container ships will be phased over the next few years.
Wallem Ship Management managing director David Price explained that the business chose Fleet Xpress because this demonstrated its commitment to improve its services for shipowners and seafarers this year and into the future. “In the first instance, we choose communications technology based on its reliability and speed,” he commented. “But we also see the transition to Fleet Xpress as offering a gateway to greater operational efficiency and crew welfare.”
Some of the operational efficiencies in shipmanagement should be enhanced by the faster connectivity to ships. Mr Price suggested that these could include procurement and safety services. Better connectivity could also help improve technical support for ships and the commercial aspects of shipmanagement.
Singapore based shipmanagement company Parakou has selected Satcom Global Aura VSAT for installation across its fleet of tankers to deliver reliable communications for its seafarers. The enhanced bandwidth provides Parakou vessels with dependable connectivity for a wide range of business and crew welfare applications, said fleet director Moh Chong Boon.
“An important driver in our adoption of VSAT was to be able to provide our crew with reliable and consistent connectivity,” he said. An important aspect was the committed information rate from VSAT.
“Satcom Global Aura is already making a huge difference to vessel connectivity, so we look forward to completing the rollout across the rest of the fleet,” Mr Moh commented. He was also pleased with the process of migrating tanker communications systems to VSAT using Intellian’s terminals.
The Spliethoff Group has awarded a major contract to Radio Holland to supply more than 72 ships that operate worldwide with VSAT Ku-band and an L-band back-up that will include a mixture of Iridium OpenPort and Inmarsat FleetBroadband. Radio Holland also gained a contract to maintain the equipment on board 116 ships in the Spliethoff fleet.
"We are now ready to send large flows of data from the ship to the shore and vice versa"
The security of internet connectivity was an important factor in the VSAT investment across the fleet, said Spliethoff director of IT Peter Van de Venne. “This agreement ensures an internet connection on almost our entire fleet and increases performance through higher bandwidth on the vessels that were already under contract,” he explained.
Enhancements to crew welfare were key requirements for the new satellite communications, but not the only ones. Spliethoff also needed to improve vessel connectivity because of the increasing volume of operational information that flows between ship and shore.
“The increased bandwidth not only adds value for our crew but also enables us to speed up our processes through more frequent synchronisation and updating of the available data on board,” said Mr Van de Venne. “We are now ready to send large flows of data from the ship to the shore and vice versa."
Wagenborg Shipping has contracted Castor Marine to install Ku-band VSAT and FleetBroadband on more than 40 ships to provide support for onboard networks. Wagenborg fleet director Theo Klimp explained that the growing requirements of seafarers was a key reason for installing VSAT. “Increasing business and crew demand for fast and reliable internet requires an integrated IT and communication solution from a proven satellite service provider,” he said.
Mr Klimp added that Wagenborg also needed a full end-to-end solution that included support of the onboard IT infrastructure and shore-based teleport facilities. He said VSAT had been installed on nine ships by the middle of May, adding: “And our crew members are very satisfied.”