Shipowners are increasingly outsourcing fleet IT management to their satcom providers
Shipowners and managers are benefiting from contracting out IT systems management on their fleets, cutting operating costs and improving system uptime.
They have enhanced cyber security on their ships and corporate IT network and ensured crew are able to access information without IT issues.
It is a fundamental change in the way shipowners consider their onboard IT management. Owners that outsource management can still control their onboard IT.
But the hassle of managing daily operations, real-time service and application monitoring, organising software updates and diagnosing issues is removed. So is the challenge of becoming compliant with IMO’s upcoming cyber security 2021 requirements.
Scorpio Group is the latest group to confirm it is outsourcing fleet IT management. It has contracted Sea IT to manage IT and communications on fleets of tankers and dry bulk carriers to concentrate administration in one cyber-secure system.
Scorpio Group chief information officer Nicola Fainelli said this is not only an evolution from the existing onboard IT infrastructure. It is a change that involves the whole vessel IT service delivery process chain.
Sea IT will monitor ship IT networks in real-time, remotely maintain equipment and software, provide software updates, manage cyber security and support crew connectivity on 180 ships. Other services can be added if required. For Scorpio, Sea IT has integrated a fuel optimisation system into its IT management.
Höegh Autoliners has also made the technical leap by contracting Marlink to manage IT networks on a fleet of 38 car carriers, replacing its existing processes of using physical media to upgrade onboard networks.
Marlink’s KeepUp@Sea will maintain IT systems’ availability and security and ensure Höegh Autoliners’ ships remain updated with the latest software and patches.
Its online applications and file distribution will limit the risk of human error, and dramatically reduce the resources and time required to update software and antivirus manually.
All this means Höegh Autoliners is ready for new regulations and guidelines, including the IMO 2021 Cyber Security section.
There are other examples in the shipping industry and predictions that more shipowners will implement similar remote IT management services this year as word of the benefits spreads.
Outsourcing communications and crew connectivity services is catching on in the offshore drilling sector. This month, Stena Drilling contracted its satellite communications provider Speedcast International to provide a managed crew communications and wifi package for four drillships and two semi-submersibles.
Shipowners can secure their ship IT networks, ensure they are remotely monitored and regularly updated with the latest software through satellite communications.
Early adopters are securing competitive advantages over rivals in cutting management costs, improving cyber security and offering better crew welfare solutions.
Those that continue to manage their own IT may do so for their own reasons. But they will miss out on the latest shipping IT trend.
Learn more about ship optimisation at Riviera’s Optimised Ship Forum, in Hamburg, Germany on 1 October 2019