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Maritime Digitalisation & Communications

Partnerships will deliver faster VSAT

Wed 11 Jul 2018 by Martyn Wingrove

Partnerships will deliver faster VSAT
Representatives from Navarino, JRC and Alphatron signed a partnership agreement during Posidonia

Mediterranean maritime satellite service providers have teamed up with companies from outside the region to deliver new crew welfare solutions.

Navarino announced at the Posidonia exhibition in Athens, Greece, in June, that it had signed agreements with Intelsat, Japan Radio Co (JRC), Alphatron and Intellian Technologies as it prepared to offer VSAT services under its own brand.

The deal with Intelsat involves Ku-band coverage from a constellation of geostationary orbit satellites including EpicNG high-throughput units. From these, Navarino will be able to offer fast communications to ships worldwide in Ku-band from Q3 this year. It already had this capability in Ka-band after becoming a provider of Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress services in 2016.

To offer Ku-band, Navarino signed a supply agreement with Intellian covering Ku-band VSAT hardware including installation and servicing on ships. It already has an agreement with rival antenna manufacturer Cobham Satcom.

To further expand its reach in Fleet Xpress, Navarino signed a distribution agreement with JRC and Alphatron Marine. It will be able to supply JRC’s version of the hybrid VSAT and L-band solution, based on the new Global Xpress Ka-band JUE-60GX terminal, which has a 60 cm antenna. This is backed by FleetBroadband L-band terminals, of JUE-251 for 250 kbps and JUE-501 for around 500 kbps of bandwidth.

Marine Electronics & Communications watched this agreement being signed. During that event Navarino director of strategic partnerships Andreas Dimitriadis said “JRC’s products are a natural fit for us” and that they will work together “to bring unique and innovative solutions to the maritime market”.

Cyprus-headquartered Tototheo Maritime has a strategic alliance with Inmarsat covering Fleet Xpress and has been working with Cobham Satcom to supply Fleet Xpress Sailor 60 GX or Sailor 100 GX antennas. It also provides Ku-band VSAT with Sailor 900 and Sailor 800 antennas.

Tototheo has started to provide new crew welfare services using GTMaritime’s mail products, said Tototheo chief governance officer Natalia Bury Loyal, including its TM Mail using GTMail for crew email services. Tototheo and GTMaritime also provide cyber security products.


OSM develops cyber security programs

Shipmanagement group OSM has developed a suite of cyber security programs for its managed fleet and is offering this to other management companies. It created these programs under its OSM Maritime Group Services (OSERV) branch as there was nothing available that suited its maritime requirements.

Issues with cyber fraud shifted the security focus from the IT department to the boardroom, which energised OSM to develop its own systems. It invested in penetration tests that “showed how vulnerable ships are to cyber attack” said OSERV managing director Peter Schellenberger.

He told Marine Electronics & Communications that some of the Windows-based operating systems on onboard electronics “were completely exposed”. The next step for OSM was to fix these vulnerabilities.

“We fixed the patches, then we went for secure communications, using encryption and virus protection,” he said. “We wanted protection and intervention, so we developed our own services.”

OSM identified that 70% of cyber issues were from crew using USBs, which it dealt with by working with DNV GL to provide online training of seafarers. “We have been running this system on OSM ships for four months, have caught potential attacks and have been able to intervene before there was any dramatic infections,” said Mr Schellenberger.

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