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Pacific Basin supports crew with KVH YOURLink service

Shipowner and operator Pacific Basin is using KVH Industries’ VSAT connectivity services to support its crew and ensure operational efficiency during the COVID-19 pandemic.

KVH’s YOURlink service is helping the shipping company to quickly and simultaneously transmit videos to seafarers onboard its 116 Handysize and Supramax bulk carriers. Having purchased a plan for a year, Pacific Basin has already transmitted two time-sensitive videos, including one on the crucial topic of crew changes.

In the video, Pacific Basin’s fleet director Jay K. Pillai discusses the efforts being made to enable seafarers to disembark their vessels for crew changes during COVID-19’s worldwide port call restrictions. The issue of seafarers being unable to leave their vessels is widespread throughout the maritime industry, with some experts calling it the most serious situation the industry has faced in decades.

“For Pacific Basin, the ability to send a video quickly to all our ships and seafarers simultaneously is an effective and appealing way for our company to get an important and heartfelt message out directly to our colleagues at sea,” explained Jay K. Pillai.

KVH’s YOURlink service uses patented technology to multicast proprietary media files via satellite link to vessels equipped with KVH VSAT connectivity. The YOURlink transmission takes place by multicast protocol over unused bandwidth, meaning that it has no impact on the vessels’ monthly data plans or onboard data speeds. YOURlink is part of a suite of value-added services that KVH provides, which include news, sports, and entertainment content delivered via satellite to enhance crew welfare, as well as the satellite delivery of weather, chart, and training content for operational efficiency.

To support crew welfare and maritime operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, KVH began offering a 50 per cent discount on data plan upgrades in April and will continue the discount through the end of December.

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    With ‘lockdowns’ and restrictions easing in some parts of the world, yacht owners are now able to enjoy ‘social distancing’ onboard their vessels, which is leading to a boost in demand for high-speed connectivity and increased bandwidth capacity. With the focus on social distancing, yachts are becoming increasingly attractive remote offices for those able to attend to business matters while enjoying the open sea, sunshine and fresh air. During this challenging time, sailors have an increased need to stay connected for both personal and operational purposes as well as to avoid the need to go ashore as much as possible.

    The signs are pointing to an upsurge in leisure boating. Yacht chartering is seen as one of the safest ways to enjoy a break at present due to the minimal contact charterers have with other people. Yachts are considered to be more hygienic, given the ratio of crew to guests and the exclusivity of being on a private boat. Affluent consumers are looking for getaways with fewer crowds, more privacy and the ability to gather privately with those closest to them. The Boat Affair platform (whose rentals are available in more than 60 countries) has seen a 23 per cent increase in requests from customers who traditionally would opt for a hotel vacation or a seaside resort but are now seeking a safer alternative. And, according to a new survey by LuggageHero, 25 per cent of travellers report they will try to avoid crowded commercial flights and public transportation in a post-coronavirus world.

    Meanwhile, in countries where travel is still restricted, many larger leisure boats and super yachts remain fully crewed and operational – also leading to increased need for connectivity as crews try to stay in touch with family and friends while conducting as many ship operations as possible via remote techniques. With crew restricted to remaining on the vessel in many places, higher speeds and larger bandwidth capacity is needed to provide leisure activities too.

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Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.

 

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