Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has implemented an agreement with Geoquip Marine allowing the offshore geotechnical solutions provider to offer dedicated Fleet Xpress bandwidth as part of its vessel charter arrangements and separated connectivity for personnel onboard.
Four Geoquip integrated geotechnical survey vessels have introduced Fleet Xpress Charterer Network services for sole use by charterers plus connectivity via Fleet Hotspot Wi-Fi services for those working at sea. In a set-up that is unique to Inmarsat, Fleet Xpress allows multiple networks to be connected to the vessel via a single antenna, with activation requiring no new hardware or shipboard installation work.
The vessels are currently operating off the US East Coast, off Taiwan, and in Europe. “Effectively, the client has its own private, fully secure Charterer Network to handle geo-data, and Fleet Hotspot Wi-Fi connectivity for personnel using either pre-paid or pay-as-you-go data use models,” says Eric Griffin, Vice President Offshore and Fishing, Inmarsat Maritime. “The client controls who sees the data, the Committed and Maximum Information Rates (CIR and MIR), and the analytics management.”
Nico Meijering, Head of MarineOperations, Geoquip Marine, comments, “By using the full capabilities of Fleet Xpress, we can offer our clients their own separate network to deploy the committed and maximum information rates capacity they require. Having the ability to use multiple segregated networks in connecting to the vessel also enhances cyber security.”
“Being able to offer the Charterer Network service to drilling companies without adding hardware gives the Fleet Xpress user a competitive edge at the contract tendering stage,” Griffin emphasises. “Lower speed networks need additional antennas to support a comparable service. Segregated network capability is a core capability for Fleet Xpress, activated on request. We expect others to follow Geoquip’s lead.”
“Provision of a dedicated, high-speed network for crew and contractors via Fleet Hotspot offers a major enhancement to welfare on board,” adds Griffin. “Inmarsat monitors use and adjusts capacity to reflect the needs of those working at sea.”
The crew is also advised on how to access SeafarerHelp and the ISWAN (International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network) portal which includes a free, confidential, multilingual chat helpline function, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Charterer Network/Fleet Hotspot offer provides a new example of Inmarsat’s redoubled commitment to flexible service provision for maritime and offshore customers. It recently unveiled ORCHESTRA – the first of its kind multi-dimensional network, integrating Inmarsat’s ELERA (L-band) and Global Xpress (Ka-band) networks with terrestrial 5G, low earth orbit (LEO) capacity to meet accelerating bandwidth requirements and eliminate congestion at hot spots, including busy ports and sea canals.