Goldenport Shipmanagement and Oceangold Tankers are Athens-based ship operators. Goldenport operates a fleet of dry cargo and container vessels, while Oceangold operates oil and chemical tankers worldwide. Ioannis Agelis, the company’s IT manager responsible for each fleet, discusses the connectivity solutions from Navarino that his vessels have been using and the future of his fleet’s communications.
‘We have been working with Navarino for more than a decade. When we were choosing a connectivity partner we knew that we had to consider more than just the airtime services they could provide. We wanted a partner who could bring that extra value, beyond airtime, in terms of value-added services. We needed a partner with very good support wherever and whenever we needed it. And as satellite bandwidths are increasing exponentially and ships become ever more networked or ‘smart’, we needed to consider whether our connectivity partner could help us to tackle the possibility of cyber security risks too. Of course we were looking for a partner who could grow and stay in synch with our future needs too, and I am happy to say that Navarino ticks all these boxes for us.
At the beginning of our cooperation, we were communicating with our fleet using Inmarsat Fleet Broadband, but we have since upgraded the entire fleet to Inmarsat Fleet Xpress (FX) on the 2Mbps MIR plan, using Cobham FX 100 antennas with Infinity Cube hosting the FX soft NSD (Network Service Device).
The first comment I would make about the new communications network is that the speed of Fleet Xpress has really made my job much easier. We usually see connections speeds of 1.6 to 1.8 Mbps and this huge improvement in bandwidth means that whenever we need to, we can have strong, stable connections to all our vessels’ networks and computers from shore, making it far easier to synchronize large files, update or patch software and use operational applications very efficiently and smoothly.
Our crews are also very happy with the higher bandwidth that Fleet Xpress brings. We use fiduciary controls to ensure that the amount of traffic generated by the crew network stays within acceptable limits but I can say that thanks to Fleet Xpress, monthly crew traffic has at least doubled compared to Fleet Broadband and I expect it will continue to increase over time. With the Infinity Cube, we can allocate a certain amount of MBs to each crewmember and we also use Infinity to carefully monitor and control all usage to ensure that no unwanted or harmful traffic is generated.
Alongside the new possibilities that the higher bandwidth of Fleet Xpress has brought our fleet is the heightened need for cyber awareness. As our ships evolve in terms of the technology on board and become ‘floating office’ networks, we have to take cyber security more and more seriously, just as we do for our land offices. The TMSA also mandates that we need to have in place cyber security policies, so after examining several cyber security solutions on the marketplace, we chose Angel from Navarino as it covers all our cyber needs.
For example, it is the only cyber security solution which does not need third party software to work, and it is the only cyber solution that can cover our requirements for the security of both the business and crew networks fully.
Furthermore, it is a huge plus to be able to have our cyber security services and our connectivity services supplied from under one roof – we know that if we need support for any aspect of our vessels’ connectivity or for cyber security issues, the one partner we need to contact is Navarino.
Looking ahead, we have advanced plans to continue modernizing our vessels and taking advantage of the new connectivity solutions that we have installed. We are very keen to create and benefit from an ‘Internet of Things’ environment in order to keep our fleet operating efficiently and ahead of our competition. For example, we shall soon be installing fuel-oil consumption software which allows us to monitor fuel consumption in real time – something that is not only a useful tool in itself, but which also helps us comply with the new EU emissions regulations.
Our new-build vessels will be equipped with an automation system with a server/firewall solution which will enable continuous access to primary vessel data both on-board the vessel and from shore. Specific automation systems will be connected to the Alarm Monitoring Systems of the vessel which in turn will acquire data from flow meters, torque meter, Cargo Monitoring System and bridge interface system. We are also looking at maybe transferring main engine data displayed on EMS and CoCoS through the vessel’s satellite connection and acquiring them via the maker’s cloud. These configurations will allow the vessel’s performance to be monitored from shore in real-time. Finally, the CCTV monitoring system that is installed onboard will be monitored from shore as well.
As a forward-looking, ambitious company we are proud to have a modern fleet that operates using some of the maritime world’s most advanced technology and connectivity solutions and we are pleased to a have a partner like Navarino who can understand and cater to our needs as they evolve.’