Via satellite: staying in touch at sea

Jun 20, 2012
Credits: sxc.hu

Working on the high seas can be lonely separated from friends and family for weeks at a time. Communications via satellite close this gap by providing the means to stay in touch. Now, with ESA’s support, contacting shore is easier.

Increasing demands on day-to-day ship operations require reliable connections regardless of a vessel’s position. Updating weather information, planning routes and boosting crew morale with calls and emails from home all depend on satcoms.

Now, ESA has helped to improve Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband system: instead of a single call, the same terminal now offers up to nine simultaneous telephone calls.  

This unique development separates the crew’s personal use from operational communications while on the high seas. Crewmembers and passengers can now make personal voice calls away from the bridge, all at the same time.

The improved service also allows ‘505’ emergency calling that connects a vessel immediately to a maritime rescue centre.

Thrane & Thrane includes the improvements as standard on new terminals but can also upgrade existing equipment. Vessels with other terminals can access the service using a special adaptor box designed by UK company Vocality Ltd.

Increasing demands on day-to-day ship operations requires reliable connections regardless of a vessel’s position. Updating weather information, planning routes and boosting crew morale with calls and emails from home all depend on satcoms. Now, ESA has helped to improve Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband system: instead of a single call, the same terminal now offers up to nine simultaneous telephone calls. Credits: Inmarsat

These upgrades to the original system were supported by ESA through its ARTES telecommunications programme.

Any vessel with the need to manage separate voice calls – particularly the merchant maritime market but also vessels such as super yachts or deep-sea fishing –boats – can benefit from the upgraded service.

“FleetBroadband Multi-Voice enlarges the range of services provided by Inmarsat to the maritime community,” says ESA’s Juan Rivera.

“The multi-voice service will improve crew working and leisure time conditions on vessels, making it easier for them to contact home.”

“The commercial launch of the multivoice service is a clear measure of the successful cooperation with the ESA ARTES programme," says Antonio Franchi, Vice President at Inmarsat.

“A number of new services have been developed under ARTES and have reached service introduction. Among these is the Voice Distress service which has just been given the 2012 Safety At Sea award."

Explore further: Creating the fastest outdoor wireless Internet connection in the world

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hylas-1 ready for service

Mar 25, 2011

It’s all systems go for Hylas-1, the first satellite created specifically to deliver broadband access to European consumers. Since its launch in November, Hylas has performed well throughout its testing ...

When a bus becomes a satellite

Mar 18, 2011

Alphabus has met Alphasat. Europe's largest telecom satellite is taking shape with final assembly and testing ready to begin in Toulouse, France.

Hylas-1 in orbit brings Europe broadband from space

Nov 29, 2010

A flawless launch has delivered Hylas-1, ESA’s first public–private partnership in a full satellite system, into space. The satellite was released today into its transfer orbit after a textbook launch ...

Stratos To Bring Prepaid SMS To Maritime Crews

Jul 15, 2005

Stratos Global announced Thursday the introduction of SMSCrewMail, a new prepaid short message system (SMS) and text e-mail service for maritime crewmembers seeking a cost-effective way to stay in touch with family and friends ...

Low cost Internet access at sea

Apr 19, 2006

Through a project supported by the European Space Agency, the UK-based company Wired Ocean Ltd can now provide enhanced Internet access for ships at sea at a much lower cost than was previously possible. Although ...

Recommended for you

How will Google, Apple shake up car insurance industry?

8 minutes ago

Car insurance industry, meet potential disrupters Google and Apple. Currently, nearly all mainstream insurers that offer driver-monitoring programs use relatively expensive devices that plug into a portal under the dashboard. ...

Fuel cells to connect our smartphones to the outside world

1 hour ago

The potential of hydrogen and fuel cell applications goes way beyond the development of green cars. The FCPOWEREDRBS team is determined to prove this with a Fuel Cell technology to power off-grid telecom stations. They believe ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.