Global tug operator KOTUG International has agreed a deal to implement Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress VSAT service for use in the Asia Pacific region, following the completion of trials of the service carried out off the coast of Western Australia.
The trials were carried out on board the 100-ton bollard pull tug Roebuck Bay, with KOTUG to now begin phasing in Fleet Xpress connectivity aboard three vessels providing towage services to Shell’s Prelude floating LNG platform.
The flexible plan agreement for the VSAT service includes ‘Confirmed and Maximum Information Rates’ for data transfer and crew connectivity, as well as an onboard entertainment package including movies, sports and news content.
KOTUG Corporate IT Manager Hans Boele analysed the results of the trial over a six-month period, and says that the company’s long term commitments in Western Australia demanded a connectivity system that was “future proof and scalable.”
“It’s our mission to provide sustainable towage services that exceed clients’ expectations and people are our greatest strength when it comes to achieving that,” he added.
“Equipping our vessels with well-functioning broadband supports our crew because it enables them to keep in contact with their relatives and our HQ and it provides uninterrupted access to the onboard entertainment system.”
“We also needed terms that took account of flexibility on usage, because the demands placed on the service can vary as towage assistance, personnel transfer and standby duty needs change. In addition, KOTUG’s vessels provide medical support and facilities. Fleet Xpress connectivity will also pave the way to deploy vessel management efficiencies that tap into the group’s wider strategy for ICT.”
KOTUG will uses its own antennas and smart boxes on board to connect to Fleet Xpress, with business critical decision support provided by IT tools connected to company headquarters in the Netherlands.