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Marlink to provide value added VSAT for Turkish tanker operator

Marlink will provide Fleet Xpress with an L-Band back-up solution. Image courtesy of Marlink. Marlink will provide Fleet Xpress with an L-Band back-up solution. Image courtesy of Marlink.

Marlink has been selected by Turkish tanker operator Güngen Denizcilik ve Ticaret A/Ş (Gungen Maritime & Trading) to provide Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service on four of its six vessels.

The agreement was concluded through Marlink’s local partner Ozsay Satellite which worked with the company to provide a high quality package of enterprise and crew welfare services.

Gungen will use the high throughput Ka-band service together with Marlink’s own voice service provided via XChange for Fleet Xpress. The Gungen Suezmaxes will use the services provided by Marlink together with the operator’s own firewall and server system for remote access and synchronisation, Cyberoam.

Marlink will provide Fleet Xpress with a bundled L-Band back-up solution, both of which will benefit from enhanced network transparency, which provides users and shore staff with immediate information on which network is in use for specific tasks. This tool enables ship and shore staff to analyse usage and prioritise data intensive downloads when in the areas of strongest coverage.

Marlink will also provide its own high quality voice service, configured to provide local Turkish telephone numbers for the ships, which provides added flexibility of two voice communications options, allowing the ship to focus on cost efficiency or highest quality.

“Gungen is a company that follows technology very closely and we implement smart and innovative solutions onto our vessels to improve safety, efficiency and compliance,” said Burak Guler, IT manger, Gungen Maritime & Trading. “We like to be ahead of the curve in terms of compliance and the advantages that technology can provide us in achieving efficiency gains and emissions reductions.”

“Gungen was one of the first operators in the country to embrace VSAT and is considered one of the most progressive shipping companies in Turkey for its very high operational standards and strong focus on crew welfare,” said Tore Morten Olsen, president, maritime, Marlink. “Gungen’s investment in its processes and its people continues with this combination of VSAT data, voice and added value services.”

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  • How much does a merchant ship pay for its VSAT communications?

    Many years ago and in another industry, not so distant from maritime connectivity… I wrote a piece providing viewpoints on “how much an airline would pay for an early release movie (early window content is the industry term). The piece got me into a considerable amount of bother, writes Joshua Flood, senior research consultant at Valour Consultancy.

    The fundamental issue being how secretive these negotiations were and Hollywood studios, airlines and their content service providers did not wish to shed any light upon the subject. Or I was terribly wrong in my viewpoints. I will stick to the former point.

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    Merchant satellite subscriptions

    Addressing the title of this piece, merchant ships come in a number of shapes, sizes and purposes.

    Breaking out the merchant market from a bird’s eye view; there are roughly 150,000 MSS and VSAT satellite subscriptions in the market. This may confuse some, due to the popularly touted figure of 80-90,000 merchant vessels (depending on your source and classifications). Clearly, this number is less than the number of maritime satellite subscriptions.

    To quickly quash this, a significant number of large merchant vessels require multiple terminals for safety purposes. In addition, some vessels will also subscribe to a multitude of solutions for certain purposes. An example could be subscribing Ku-band VSAT services from Intelsat or Eutelsat, Fleetbroadband from Inmarsat and Certus from Iridium.

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    In the past, merchant operators were satisfied with just MSS (L-band) services, however, over the last decade the use of VSAT technology has become a dominant force within all commercial maritime vessels. There are around 20,000 VSAT merchant vessels active today.

    Looking into the key types of merchant vessels. There is an array of different variations. And when speaking about shipping, certain regions are known for their trade. Asia and Northern Europe for commodity and container vessels, as an example.

    Extra special LNGs

    One of my favourite research interviews of 2021 was with a Cypriot service provider. I won’t say which one or whom, however, it was most definitely one of my most entertaining.

    It was almost like having a conversation with the Cheshire Cat in Alice of Wonderland. I went through a list of vessel types with “the Cat” providing their average monthly airtime fees the company gets for connectivity airtime packages. Bulk carriers, a short grunt and allocated to the bottom of the list of data usage and associated ARPU revenue. MPP and ro-ro vessels followed in quick succession, just above bulk carriers. General cargo and container vessels pique his interest and were placed in middle position of the rankings. PCC and vehicle carriers excite Mr Cat further.

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    Moving away from this abstract narrative, the merchant market is highly fragmented and different vessel types have a big difference in their respective airtime ARPU, depending on usage type, areas of coverage and congestion of such areas.

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    As such, the customer type and their fleet of vessels are very important. Also, I will also state the more prestigious customers know how valuable their business is worth and therefore expect very good service and also heavy discounts. In fact, some prestige names are not as lucrative as some outsiders perceive.

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    For Ku-band, this works out around $1,500 and Ka-band around $1,300. The latter will have gone up in 2020, too. For more information on the final point and our latest maritime connectivity research, please download our latest report brochure for more information here.

    Average Monthly Connectivity Revenues in Merchant Vessel in 2019

    MSS only

    <$500

    MSS & VSAT

    $800

    Ku-band

    $1,500

    Ka-band

    $1,300 (this will have increased in 2020 & 2021)

    Bulk Carrier

    $1,300

    LNG

    $3,000 to $4,000

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