Pacific Gas chooses Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress connectivity with Fleet Secure Endpoint

Source: press release, 23 October 2019

Very large gas carrier (VLGC) ‘Pacific Rizhao’
Very large gas carrier (VLGC) ‘Pacific Rizhao’ (photo: Pacific Gas)

The largest Liquid Ethylene Gas (LEG) ship owner in China has agreed a commitment to install Fleet Xpress connectivity from Inmarsat, global provider of mobile satellite communications, on all its vessels. This will also include Inmarsat’s Fleet Secure Endpoint, the new line of defence in the multi-layered strategy to thwart cyber threats.

Pacific Gas has committed to the new Fleet Secure Endpoint solution within the terms of its agreement to install Fleet Xpress across all their operational ships by the end of this year as well as on its future vessels.

The Hong Kong-headquartered group has the capacity to carry 3 million tonnes of cargo annually and has signalled intentions of an expansion beyond its existing focus on very large gas carriers and liquefied ethylene gas carriers into Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) carriers and Very Large Ethane carriers (VLECs).

The ambitions of Pacific Gas have driven evolving connectivity needs, demanding the bandwidth, seamless global coverage, guaranteed performance and 24/7 support available through Fleet Xpress, according to Capt. Tao Yong, Vice President Fleet, Pacific Gas.

“Fleet Xpress helps us to scale our digital activities and complement the ship management software that we installed for resource planning on vessels,” says Capt. Tao Yong. “With real-time data exchange, vessels are now an extension to our shore office, and we base our operational efficiency and performance gains on continuous monitoring and real-time upgrades and assistance. Internet access at sea is also vital for crew welfare and essential to attracting and retaining talented crew.”

Capt. Tao Yong adds that always-on connectivity and shipping’s progress towards digitalisation creates new requirements to protect ships against cybercriminals. Stable connections are vital for a company continuously monitoring its ships remotely using CCTV for security, for example.

“With our growing dependence on technology and providing open internet access we could be susceptible to cyberattacks, so we needed more than a conventional anti-virus to protect our systems 24/7 and from the various kinds of evolving threats,” continues Capt. Tao Yong. “As a modern ship owner, we ensure that all our vessels are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and security systems that complement Inmarsat’s global, secure and reliable connectivity.”

Fleet Secure Endpoint monitors ship systems for security breaches introduced at “endpoints”, either by malicious software or by a new crew device with no security installed, reporting a ‘rogue node’ and isolating them from the rest of the network until issue resolution. Powered by ESET Endpoint Security – recognised for its high performance by industry authority Gartner Inc. – Fleet Secure’s advanced monitoring stands out from the competition by offering the user a greater sense of control and awareness over their environment.

“Pacific Gas is one of the growing number of quality operators adopting practical and pragmatic mitigation strategies that prioritise cybersecurity on shore and at sea,” says Peter Broadhurst, Senior Vice President of Safety and Security, Inmarsat. “These companies recognise that the risks of a cyberattack on a vessel extend beyond loss of reputation; they include the risk of delays to the ship and cargo delivery or increased insurance premiums.”