Bourbon signs 100-vessel Fleet Xpress deal

Offshore operator Bourbon has signed a contract committing more than 100 offshore support vessels (OSVs) to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress (FX) Ka-band VSAT service, with integrated FleetBroadband L-band backup, as it continues with its transformative Smart Shipping Programme.

The Programme, structured around a new vessel operational model, expanded onshore support and connection to a remote support centre, seeks to leverage digital and connectivity tools to reduce Bourbon’s fleet operating costs. Set for completion by 2021, the project envisages the eventual deployment of 133 ‘smart’ vessels.

“The time has come for operational intelligence: connected vessels, use of predictive maintenance, shore-based control centres, rationalisation of tasks, etc,” said Bourbon Corporation Chief Executive Officer Gaël Bodénès.

“Automation of onboard systems is already a reality for our seafarers and we must all innovate at speed to invent our business model and our professions of tomorrow.”

All vessels covered in the FX agreement will use three-axis stabilised antennas from Cobham, specifically developed for the Global Xpress satellite network.

“An important aspect of Fleet Xpress is that third party charterers could run their own Fleet Xpress services via a dedicated ‘pipe’ without interrupting the primary bandwidth being provided to an OSV,” adds Eric Griffin of Inmarsat.

“Customers chartering OSVs can therefore manage their own ‘smart’ vessel performance with full flexibility, using existing terminals and hardware on board.”

Among the first of Bourbon’s fleet to migrate to the new set-up will be a group of subsea vessels that also feature dual satellite terminals, with high-powered amplifiers for additional redundancy.

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Rob O'Dwyer

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