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Inmarsat seeks GMDSS recognition for FleetBroadband

An IMO subcommittee will discuss a request from the UK to grant formal recognition to Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband for use in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System Lee el resto de esta entrada

KVH unveils new satellite TV antenna

KVH has announced the introduction of the TracVision TV8, a new antenna system designed to deliver satellite television to vessels worldwide. According to KVH, the TracVision TV8 is compatible with nearly all Ku-band services around the globe, and also supports services such as DIRECTV, DISH Network and Bell TV in North America, as well as TrueVisions, Astro, and Sky TV 81 cm Inmarsat Antenain the Asia-Pacific region. The 81cm (32 inch) diameter system is fully stabilised and comes with an IPenabled TV-Hub, along with a single coaxial cable for power, data and video, allowing for straightforward installation. “The TracVision TV8 has the top engineering characteristics our antenna systems are known for around the world,” says Martin Kits van Heyningen, CEO at KVH. “With its advanced tracking and extended coverage area, it is an ideal system for a superyacht in the Mediterranean, a tanker ship in the Baltic, or any number of ships on the world’s oceans. These rugged systems are fully stabilised and stay locked on the satellite even in heavy seas.” In addition to the release of this TV system KVH has also expanded its satellite communications mini-VSAT network, with increased capacity added in the AsiaPacific region and North America to support commercial maritime activities. In North America, the expansion has seen new beams added for the Pacific Northwest, as well as for eastern Canada and the US coast, with the latter more than doubling network capacity. In AsiaPacific, KVH says the capacity of a key beam was increased by 60 per cent. “The commercial maritime industry is increasingly reliant on broadband services to improve operational efficiency,” says Mr Kits van Heyningen. “Data and connectivity enable ship owners to accomplish many goals, from reduced fuel consumption through voyage planning to increased safety through updated training programmes delivered to crew while they are onboard.” “We are continually monitoring and improving the mini-VSAT Broadband network to ensure our maritime customers have the critical connectivity they need at all times onboard their vessels.”

NovAtel Offers Marine Antenna that Blocks Inmarsat Interference

NovAtel Inc. has introduced the GPS-713 pinwheel antenna, available in two configurations: the standard GPS-713-GGG-N and the L-Band capable GPS-713-GGGL-N. GPS-713 pinwheel antenna.

Both antennas provide enhanced Inmarsat interference rejection, allowing tracking of GNSS signals in the presence of high-powered Inmarsat transmitters typically found on marine vessels. The antennas receive GPS L1, L2, L5; GLONASS L1, L2, L3; BeiDou B1, B2; and Galileo E1, E5a/b frequencies, optimizing global satellite tracking capabilities. Customers can use either antenna for GPS-only or multi-constellation applications, providing excellent flexibility and reduced equipment costs, NovAtel said.

Designed for baselines of any length and easy installation, the phase center offset of these antennas remains constant as the azimuth and elevation angle of the satellites change. The antenna shares the same form factor as other NovAtel GPS-700 series antennas, and is enclosed in a durable, waterproof housing.  Its compact, lightweight size makes it suitable for a wide variety of environments and applications.

Putting the Customer Last – Inmarsat Raises FB Prices Again – Warning: Next Act: Global Xpress

If you think Xpress Link is a bargain at an initial $3,000 per/month with free antennas and equipment, think again. Massive, double-digit price increases are possible once your initial contract has expired.

In typical Frank Coles style, Inmarsat now forces its low-end Fleet Broadband customers to pay more for more capacity, more than they may need or want. Inmarsat’s new pricing effective January 1, 2015 and affecting an estimated 15,000 or more vessels hikes the prices a whopping 20% + on the entry-level Fleet Broadband package, from $840 to $1050, a rise that comes on top of a 60% + series of price increase for the same service imposed during the last two years. Of note is the fact that the increase steps outside the previously claimed Inmarsat justification for raising prices on Legacy Services, the need to migrate customers to the new platforms.

This pricing move, while expected to boost revenues and earnings in the short term and possibly generate bonuses for management, jeopardizes the company and its shareholders in the longer term. Thanks to Inmarsat management’s demonstrated propensity to heap double-digit price increase on top of double-digit prices increases, the company has now positioned itself as putting earnings first and the welfare of its customers last.

Only the naïve would not expect the same kind of price escalation with Global Xpress. Consider that the cost of the Xpress Link/GX “free” equipment is in the range of $50,000 USD. At a $3,000 per/month fee, Inmarsat won’t break even on the equipment cost alone until late in the second year, and that does not even include depreciation on the roughly $1.8 Billion cost of the GX network and infrastructure (including the recently contracted 4th i5). So, if you think Xpress Link with the “free” upgrade to GX is an attractive offering now, wait until the end of your initial contract. Then, prices could skyrocket.

By the end of your contract, Inmarsat’s service will be an integral part of a ship’s IT network, especially with iFusion or the once touted SEP or more aptly, the MEP (Monopoly Enablement Platform), installed. If the expected price increases do occur as expected, given the time and cost associated with removal of the Inmarsat hardware, you will either have to bear whatever price increase Inmarsat chooses to impose or endure the inconvenience and cost associated with removing and replacing GX on your vessels.

Consider the Alternative – Ku-Spot Beam Technology:

Since GX was announced, one by one, we have seen Inmarsat’s over-hyped performance claims debunked or “restated.” For example, we now know that the overly hyped 50 Mbps performance claim applies to an entire Spot Beam not what individual users will receive. In reality, ships are offered only 256 Kbps guaranteed CIR with burst to 1 Mbps, not 50 Mbps. The real truth is that using a comparable Ku Spot Beam infrastructure, Intelsat, SES, Telesat and Eutelsat and their integrators will be able to deliver four to five times the capacity more than Global Xpress to a 1.0 Meter antenna – all with far less Rain Fade sensitivity and without upgrading equipment. In addition, with Ku-Band, unlike Ka-Band GX, there are numerous competitive providers. If you are not satisfied, you can choose another provider when your contract expires. Thankfully, as an alternative to Global Xpress, nearly every major VSAT integrator will offer the customer this superior, monopoly-busting, Ku-Band, Spot Beam service.

The Expense of New MARPOL Regulations

The Presidential Decree 979 and Marine Pollution Decree of 1976 were intended to protect marine and coastal elements from maritime pollution, yet due to their generality and datedness today, they are no longer efficient at regulating current environmental issues. For this reason, new MARPOL Annex VI legislation was introduced in 2005 and updated in 2010 to restrict further emissions in the emission control areas (ECAs).

With talks of further regulations being rolled out in 2015 and 2020, the maritime industry is facing the harsh reality that avoiding fuel costs by compromising quality is no longer acceptable. In fact, from January 1, 2015 ships travelling the ECAs are forbidden from burning any fuel with a sulphur content of more than 0.1%, which is a 10% decrease from current limits.

Such a harsh crackdown on emissions from the shipping industry is to be expected, with it being responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and one ship constituting more sulphur dioxide (SO2) than 50m cars.* Yet the problem faced by many shipping companies is the increase in cost in order to be environmentally conscious.

The burning of distillate fuels as opposed to the Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) used today has been proposed as an option for ships to cut down their emissions. However, this is believed to be priced over $300 per metric ton above what guilty shipping companies are paying at the moment.

The other alternative to burning distillate fuels is the use of scrubbers, or ECGs. These use technology using sea water to neutralize the sulphur oxides in the exhaust gases, so work as purifiers in a sense. This is a more affordable option compared to the distillate fuels as it allows the use of cheaper fuels whilst still abiding by the MARPOL regulations.

To ensure that ships are abiding by MARPOL legislation it is recommended that they invest in emission monitoring technology, at least when operating in ECAs. Developments in technology means that emission monitoring can now be operated electronically, therefore requiring no additional labor costs to run whilst still providing accurate and verifiable data collection and reporting. It is also possible to make real time amendments to the operating of the ship through fitted emissions monitoring technology which potentially allows the management team to save on fuel and therefore gas emissions.

So although the initial response to new MARPOL legislation is concern for the additional cost for companies working in the maritime industry, there are ways around such steep prices for distillate fuels. The use of scrubbers and emission monitoring technology is a far cheaper alternative, and is in fact recommended on all ships, regardless of whether they work in ECAs or not. Yet, they will soon be mandatory when the new regulations are implemented

*Peter Boyd, Chief Operating Officer Carbon War room, Sourced: theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/aug/01/sustainable-shipping-is-making-waves

Source: Procal

procal.com