Greek ship operator Seanergy Maritime is fulfilling its vision of having always-connected ships and crew in an innovative way
Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp is considering migrating its fleet of bulk carriers to Inmarsat’s hybrid satellite communications solution, Fleet Xpress. According to Seanergy Maritime IT manager Stavros Vafeiadis, Otesat-Maritel has activated two vessels and completed pre-installation on two more ships. There are discussions to further extend that partnership.
“We are an adaptor of new and innovative technologies and it is our goal to get the most out of this new greater bandwidth and global mobility,” he said.
Seanergy Maritime is using Ka-band VSAT and Fleetbroadband L-band backup, with hardware supplied by Cobham Satcom, for both operational and crew communications. It is using Otesat-Maritel’s s@tGate platform to enhance and compliment the satellite connectivity.
Mr Vafeiadis said this enables Seanergy Maritime “to improve in areas such as business intelligence, operational efficiency and fleet performance” when ships are in Ka-band coverage, and when this connectivity is transferred to L-band backup. Mr Vafeiadis told Marine Electronics & Communications that so far four ships have been transferred to Fleet Xpress, with the rest of the fleet to follow at a later date.
Otesat-Maritel is also helping Seanergy Maritime to protect its ships from potential cyber threats by providing its s@tGate centralised intrusion detection and prevention system. “We feel confident that with the fully owned private and secured redundant network and s@tGate that Seanergy Maritime is safeguarded against potential cyber threats,” said Mr Vafeiadis. These include s@tGate’s real-time systems and data traffic monitoring and alerting services.
For crew communications there are voice, data and email systems on the bulk carriers as part of Otesat-Maritel’s tailored information and communications solutions, which also help the shipowner’s onshore staff remain in communication with the vessels.
Mr Vafeiadis said the migration process so far has been smooth as Otesat-Maritel is able to complete the transition on each ship in a day. This includes hardware installation and software updates without any major disruptions.
“Having undisrupted, secure and high[ly] efficient communications and services on board is vital for a shipping company,” he explained. “There are three directives that are difficult to achieve and even more difficult to maintain.” According to Mr Vafeiadis, these are selecting the right partner; getting the right plan and service that meets the requirements of a bandwidth-hungry shipping fleet; and managing the amount of data transmitted between ships and shore.
He said Seanergy Maritime had experienced the benefits of Fleet Xpress, the leasing equipment and service plans. “The Fleet Xpress service is an end-to-end and fully managed service,” said Mr Vafeiadis while explaining the benefits. “It is a hybrid technology with a failover solution providing almost undisrupted communications and high global bandwidth without any caps or limitations.”
To achieve this, Seanergy Maritime relies on Otesat-Maritel’s services to repair any system, service or hardware faults, as he said these do fail eventually, adding that “having the best team to support you is crucial”.
Mr Vafeiadis is looking ahead to the future connectivity of the fleet and services that will be required. New applications will be available through Fleet Xpress in the months and years ahead as Inmarsat develops these gateway services. “I think that more and more services will be implemented to ensure that companies are well protected,” said Mr Vafeiadis.