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Marlink Remains Largest Retail VSAT Service Provider in 2019

In Valour Consultancy’s latest maritime connectivity report, The Future of Maritime Connectivity – 2020 edition, Marlink Group remained the largest retail service provider for VSAT communication services in 2019. The global service provider increased its revenue market share from 23.1 per cent in 2018, to 23.9 per cent in 2019. 

Marlink has proactive approach to customer service ensuring all its clients and their vessels are functioning at an optimal performance. This has been a particularly poignant matter during the COVID-19 pandemic with large numbers of merchant seafarers stranded at sea away from their friends and families. In addition, the company’s history in the maritime market and strength across all the applications at the firm has also aided its mission of staying at the top of the VSAT retail market. Valour Consultancy estimates that Marlink had more than seven thousand vessels subscribed to its SeaLink VSAT service today. 

Valour Consultancy ranked Speedcast second in the retail VSAT market in 2019. Like Marlink, the company also increased its market share from 2018 primarily due to its acquisition of Globecomm. However, the firm has gone through some financial turmoil recently, filing for Chapter 11 in April 2020 and it will be interesting to see how it will perform in the next 12 months. 

Inmarsat continues to play a strong dual role in the market, providing wholesale MSS and VSAT satellite capacity to its value added resellers (service providers) and also serving some key customers directly. The firm, purchased by a private equity consortium in 2019, has done a good job of switching its large existing MSS customer base to its FX VSAT offerings whilst also getting its VARS to commit to fulfilling a number of vessels on its FX services. An example of this is demonstrated by Inmarsat’s strong relationship with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), one of Japan’s largest shipping companies, who announced they plan to continue the roll out of FX across the remainder of all its owned and managed vessels  

Another notable maritime connectivity player has been KVH Industries. The firm has performed exceedingly well with its Agile Plans VSAT leasing service and reported shipping more than 10,000 VSAT antennas cumulatively earlier this year. Note this is across all mobility and land verticals. Nevertheless, its strength does reside within maritime and the firm has recently introduced its successful leasing plan to leisure market customers, opening up a significant number of vessels for new business. 

Unfortunately, Global Eagle has suffered somewhat over recent years and its market share dropped from 10 per cent in 2018 to less than 8 per cent in 2019. This is as a result of having lost a number of key passenger and offshore energy clients to other service providers in recent years. 

Valour Consultancy’s take on the retail VSAT maritime connectivity standings in 2019: 

Looking Forward 

According to the IMF in its June 2020 outlook update  – “Global growth is projected to decline by  –4.9 per cent in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below the April 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast. In 2021 global growth is projected at 5.4 per cent. Overall, this would leave 2021 GDP some 6.5 percentage points lower than in the pre-COVID-19 projections of January 2020. The adverse impact on low-income households is particularly acute, imperiling the significant progress made in reducing extreme poverty in the world since the 1990s 

Valour Consultancy anticipates glass half full perspective. Yes, passenger and offshore energy markets have been decimated by the fear of the pandemic, travel restrictions and the unknown of what is nextNonetheless, other markets have remained less affected, if not up from 2019. The effect of having so many seafarers in the merchant market stranded at sea has been to increase crew welfare video, messaging and telephone communication usage over the last six months. Some of the super wealthy have also seconded themselves on their private superyachts for the period. In addition, the demand for overall food produce such as seafood has remained stable and the market is likely to remain steady over the year. There are many notable pain points in maritime satellite connectivity right now but also a few good ones. Our maritime connectivity report will be providing an October update on 2020 and new projections for 2021 onwards. For more information please click here 

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In addition, the company’s history in the maritime market and strength across all the applications at the firm has also aided its mission of staying at the top of the VSAT retail market. Valour Consultancy estimates that Marlink had more than seven thousand vessels subscribed to its SeaLink VSAT service today.  Valour Consultancy ranked Speedcast second in the retail VSAT market in 2019. Like Marlink, the company also increased its market share from 2018 primarily due to its acquisition of Globecomm. However, the firm has gone through some financial turmoil recently, filing for Chapter 11 in April 2020 and it will be interesting to see how it will perform in the next 12 months.  Inmarsat continues to play a strong dual role in the market, providing wholesale MSS and VSAT satellite capacity to its value added resellers (service providers) and also serving some key customers directly. The firm, purchased by a private equity consortium in 2019, has done a good job of switching its large existing MSS customer base to its FX VSAT offerings whilst also getting its VARS to commit to fulfilling a number of vessels on its FX services. An example of this is demonstrated by Inmarsat’s strong relationship with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), one of Japan’s largest shipping companies, who announced they plan to continue the roll out of FX across the remainder of all its owned and managed vessels   Another notable maritime connectivity player has been KVH Industries. The firm has performed exceedingly well with its Agile Plans VSAT leasing service and reported shipping more than 10,000 VSAT antennas cumulatively earlier this year. Note this is across all mobility and land verticals. Nevertheless, its strength does reside within maritime and the firm has recently introduced its successful leasing plan to leisure market customers, opening up a significant number of vessels for new business.  Unfortunately, Global Eagle has suffered somewhat over recent years and its market share dropped from 10 per cent in 2018 to less than 8 per cent in 2019. This is as a result of having lost a number of key passenger and offshore energy clients to other service providers in recent years.  Valour Consultancy’s take on the retail VSAT maritime connectivity standings in 2019:  Looking Forward  According to the IMF in its June 2020 outlook update  - “Global growth is projected to decline by  –4.9 per cent in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below the April 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast. In 2021 global growth is projected at 5.4 per cent. Overall, this would leave 2021 GDP some 6.5 percentage points lower than in the pre-COVID-19 projections of January 2020. The adverse impact on low-income households is particularly acute, imperiling the significant progress made in reducing extreme poverty in the world since the 1990s  Valour Consultancy anticipates glass half full perspective. Yes, passenger and offshore energy markets have been decimated by the fear of the pandemic, travel restrictions and the unknown of what is nextNonetheless, other markets have remained less affected, if not up from 2019. The effect of having so many seafarers in the merchant market stranded at sea has been to increase crew welfare video, messaging and telephone communication usage over the last six months. Some of the super wealthy have also seconded themselves on their private superyachts for the period. In addition, the demand for overall food produce such as seafood has remained stable and the market is likely to remain steady over the year. There are many notable pain points in maritime satellite connectivity right now but also a few good ones. Our maritime connectivity report will be providing an October update on 2020 and new projections for 2021 onwards. For more information please click here  [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Loose Specs Sink Shipmanagers

When writing commercial articles about the maritime market, I found analogies for players in the ecosystem most useful. After undertaking a recent new research findings on satellite operators, service providers, shipping companies, ship owners (most of the time the former, however, not in some cases), ship managers and seafarers. I thought a simplification of their roles would be beneficial.

There are ship owners, ship managers and seafarers who go (down) to the sea in ships. A shipping company’s customer likes to buy a product from A where it is cheap and move it to B where it can be sold to make a profit. To do this require shipping companies and owners to commission shipyards to build metal boxes to carry the product. Sometimes this box is made of steel and floats on the ocean. Sailors live on the ship-box, look after it and care about it. They talk of being married to the ocean and treat the ship as if it is their wife (or husband).

Ship managers are relationship experts who try to maintain these many relationships and keep all in good health.

Commercially this makes good sense for smaller ship/fleet owners as the overhead and cash flow required for maintaining a crew and vessel management department within the owner’s organisation is onerous. Because management contracts are negotiated mainly on price, margins for ship management companies are squeezed and hiccups in cash-flow, for example an international pandemic which keeps ships from docking and crews from changing, can mean the difference between survival and bankruptcy. Even for larger fleet operators, there is some logic in relieving the parent company of the responsibility and risk inherent in hiring permanent staff for crewing and administration, but cost comparisons must be harder to justify outsourcing. The low freight rates ($1,576 per 40ft container according to Drewry’s World Index) and the pandemic have all taken their toll on the industry and there will likely be cohort of mergers, bankruptcies and acquisitions.

Whether a ship owner gives the ship management tasks to a separate division within the company, or outsources the job to a third-party ship manager, the services provided will cover the same operational needs. Third party ship management companies play an important role in the shipping industry.

Remit of ship management firms:

Ship management usually covers crew management – selection, training, competence, medical fitness for duty, payroll and tax, pension, repatriation, insurance, even union negotiations.

Operationally, it might include – supply of necessary victualling, stores, spares, and lubricating oil and services for the ship, repair and maintenance, arranging dry dockings, modification and upgrades, audit planning, monitoring of flag state compliance, classification society compliance, safety and health management and compliance with port and docks security codes.

Commercially, services offered include: financial accounting including voyage estimates and issuing voyage instructions, ship financing, newbuilding contracting and supervision, chartering including demurrage, insurance, claims handling, appointing agents, appointing stevedores and arranging surveys associated with commercial operation.

In at least the last 20 years, the ownership of the world’s merchant fleet has become more varied. Aside from independent ship owners who have their own ship operating ability, investors, banks and hire companies have bought, or ended up owning by default, ships but do not have the necessary expert knowledge to operate them. However, the relationship between the ship manager and the ship owner is not always ideal. Disputes between them may arise, regarding claims from third parties, standards and the quality of service or of returning asset after the contract terminates. Around 25% of the world’s international trading fleet of ships is reliant on services provided by third party managers in whole or part.

How does this situation influence the adoption of smart-ship technology?

A little description of the main players follows with their origin, base of operations and some discussion of their approach to smart-ship technology, always remembering that, unless a vessel is built with the necessary sensors and communication capacity, the retrofitting smart-ship technology is an expensive and time consuming business that ship owners rarely want to fund unless promised a clear-cut increase in return for the effort.

Anglo Eastern-Univan Group (Hong Kong) started out in 1974 as Anglo-Eastern, a chartering and ship owning company with Anglo-Eastern Management Services being the in-house manager for the ships. This in-house department was the start of the present Anglo-Eastern Group. There was a management buyout in 1998 and a subsequent merger with Scottish ship manager, Denholm Ship Management three years later. Anglo Eastern merged with Univan Group in 2015. It now has roughly 1,700 shore staff and over 27,000 sea crew and combined third party management of nearly 900 ships. A majority of its ships’ crews come from India, Philippines, Ukraine and China.

In March 2020, the group announced that it is adopting the Wärtsilä Fleet Operations Solution (FOS) by Transas, in order to optimise the planning, weather routing, fuel consumption, and speed of a vessel. It also facilitates ship to-shore reporting and fleet performance management to reduce fuel consumption taking into consideration charter party compliance, speed management, as well as hull, propeller and engine condition. Key benefits of deploying the Wärtsilä FOS include a unique platform that integrates with a ship’s planning station and electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS), immense cloud computing power, machine learning, data analytics, and onboard/onshore mobile applications.

V.Group (London) has been in operation since 1984. It’s core operations are ship operation management; V.Ships leisure; and crew management. Other divisions include the ship supply chain division, marine services division and offshore division. It is 51 per cent owned by a private investment company Advent International. The company website states that it manages 2,200 vessels with a sea crew of 44,000 (half of whom will be at sea and half on liberty) and a shore staff of 3,000 spread over 60 offices. The company employs an in-house integrated management software system called Shipsure 2.0 which can be installed in modules.

Fleet (a rebranding from Fleet Management) (Hong Kong) was established in 1994. It provides technical management, ship building, marine insurance, maritime training and crew management to ship owners worldwide. The company manages around 550 cargo vessels, multipurpose vessels, container vessels, bulk carriers, reefer vessels, chemical tankers, gas carriers, product tankers, crude oil, roll-on/roll-off vessels, and pure car carriers. Its crew roster numbers 20,000 and it has 25 offices in 12 countries with a shore staff of 800. The software monitoring system they use is called PARIS (Planning and Reporting Infrastructure for Ship) which is now a cloud-based reporting dashboard for every aspect of a vessel’s performance, condition, operating cost, and crew details.

Bernhard Schulte Ship Management (BSM) (Singapore) has more than 135 years in the shipping industry. Originally founded in 1883 as a ship-owner for the timber trade in the Baltic Sea, the family-owned business developed until now, the parent company, Schulte Group, manages a fleet of around 600 vessels, 18,000 seafarers and 2,000 shore based employees through a network of 11 ship management offices, 24 crew service offices and four wholly-owned maritime training centres. The company uses an in-house developed PAL software system, an integrated ship management software suite, on all BSM-managed ships. It is a calendar maintenance schedule with respect to machinery running hours and condition-based maintenance, an enhanced system we use with electronic engine indicators. PAL voyage module is used to monitor ship performance with the data compared to past voyages providing accurate information on the right timing for propeller and hull cleaning.

Columbia Shipmanagement (Cyprus) as established in Limassol, in 1978. With more than 380 vessels under full and crew management, 280 new build vessels under supervision, 8 management offices, 14 crewing agencies, more than 15,000 employees. CSM is at the forefront of shipping digitalisation and is a key contributor to the technological revolution in the maritime industry. CSM has a software suite called Performance Optimisation Control Room (POCR) which provides 24/7 expert monitoring of its fleet. The POCR optimises operations in all areas of vessel safety, crew rotation and training, maintenance and fuel efficiency.

Synergy Group (Singapore) was founded in 2006. They provide technical management, commercial management, crew management, new ship building, maritime training, pre-purchase inspection, port agency and marine travels. They have more than 300 vessels under management with over 12,000 crew members out of 13 offices in six maritime centres Synergy supervises a diverse fleet which includes LPG tankers, chemical tankers, oil tankers (VLCC, Suezmax, Aframax, LR2, LR1 and MR), container vessels in the 1,800 TEU to >20,000 TEU capacity and every size of bulk carrier. Its in-house software, known as ‘ShipPalm’, runs their ship management software that is regulatory compliant. It provides an integrated business solution to Synergy’s Ship Management division. It is modular in concept and can monitor voyage performance, keeps track of certificates, has a documents management module, a defect reports module, crewing module, purchase module. It includes a planned maintenance system and can produce business intelligence reports. Furthermore, the company has introduced the SmartShip Technology into one of its group vessels, Trammo Dietlin which is the first vessel to receive the Certificate of Class, ‘AL-SAFE’ notation from Lloyd’s Register. This is the first example of a ship certified to stream data into a big data platform. Elements of the navigation, cargo and machinery systems have been certified AL2, which means ‘systems provide on and off-ship decision support for operators’. This provides operators and shore-based support staff with instant access to operating data from these systems for monitoring and diagnostics through the cloud, with which they can make more informed decisions and respond to issues faster and more efficiently. The Air Handling Unit has been certified AL3 which means ‘systems that operate autonomously, but with an active human ‘in-the-loop’’.

Wallem Group (Hong Kong) was established in 1903 by Haakon Wallem in Shanghai. Now it manages more than 350 ships with 7,000 qualified seafarers and 1,000 shore-based staff in 17 countries with 8 training centres. The software suite it employs is BASSnet currently trialled on three vessels using Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress – a crude/oil products tanker and two vehicle transporters. After setting up the planned maintenance databases for the three pilot vessels. and revamped the chart of accounts with the aim of making it more granular, enabling more detailed comparisons and analysis of actual and budgeted costs, and allow greater transparency in reporting to vessel owners. Wallem is also linking BASSnet up with the company’s other software with a view to harnessing ‘Big Data’ across Wallem’s business process and reducing administrative burden. Initially this will see automation of the invoices register and procurement management process and integration with COMPAS – the crew management software used by Wallem seafarers. BASSnet is also an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform.

Thome Ship Management (Singapore) was, set up in 1963 and undertook agency work mainly for Scandinavian owners, in addition to his chartering and shipbroking activities. In 2013, the company had more than 400 vessels under full technical management serviced by 750 shore staff and 12,000 crew members in 11 locations. It is not clear if there is a company-wide monitoring and management suite of software.

Wilhelmsen Ship Management (Lysaker, Norway) Founded in 1861, the parent company Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA is a global maritime industry group employing more than 21,000 people. They deliver products and services to more than half of the world’s merchant fleet, along with crew and technical management to the biggest vessels at sea. Its ship management division is a 45 year old stand-alone entity fully owned by the parent company. It manages 396 ships, employs 4,500 marine professionals (shared with other group companies) servicing 2,200 ports in 125 countries and has 9,200 active seafarers. WSM uses a range of software suites to address different aspects of voyage, engine and fuel efficiency, client and supplier information including FRED (Framework for Enterprise Data) a customer portal for securely accessing their transaction information, including invoices, delivery notes, order history and current delivery status of orders. It also allows customers to retrieve certificates for products such as ropes, along with providing an instant overview of which cylinders they have on board, and where. For engine rooms, they have trialled the ER-EMT solution (engine room – energy management technology) “True Demand”. This automation technology responds to the varying conditions of the engine room. It delivers direct energy savings, and also allows the crew to constantly monitor and verify the status of each controlled unit and ensure that the savings are sustainable and extending the scope for benchmarking and energy optimisation. It is thought that WSM also use Kongsberg and Honeywell integrated automation systems. Wilhelmsen Ship Management has entered into strategic partnerships with DNV GL, Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) and University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) for the development of autonomous shipping operations.

OSM Maritime (Kristiansand, Limassol, Singapore) Founded in 1989, OSM is now a leading provider of full-service solutions to the Offshore and Maritime Industry with more than 12,000 employees, 30 office locations, 500 vessels under management. OSM recently announced that it has extended its partnership with Tero Marine, and will install its TM Master suite on the remaining OSM fleet globally. The frame agreement with Tero Marine means that all vessels with various planned maintenance systems across the OSM fleet would be standardised on TM Master. At the core of this digitalisation is the visualisation of quality data which are used to monitor the fleet and provide real-time support to the crew, around-the-clock, performance management and fast response capabilities if the need arises. Combined with an analytics platform that helps them capture and act on detailed insights from the data, the company has tested artificial intelligence capabilities that enable the platform to identify advanced correlations that humans would normally not be able to catch on first sight. TM Master as the preferred maintenance and purchasing system will fit into this digital strategy. TM Master has been designed to enable you to take care of your assets; vessels, crew and cargo. The fleet management system consists of the following modules: maintenance, procurement, human resources and quality & environment. TM Master is designed to work with future operating systems and is also ideally suited for integration with third party software such as ERP software.

Conclusion

Ship management companies seem to be divided into two types; those that developed from departments of ship owners and charterers such as Anglo-Eastern, BSM, Wallem and Wilhelmsen. The other is those that have been more recently set up specifically to cater to the ship management industry. This reflects in their approach to automation and AI. It makes little financial sense to promote technology that reduces or diminishes reliance on technically and legally qualified crew if one of your main streams of income is manning and associated costs.

Dr Malcolm Willingale of Henley Business School and author, with others, of “Ship Management” has suggested that the level of the management fees might be around $75,000 – 100,000 per annum for a bulk carrier, $90,000 – 150,000 per annum for a tanker and approximately $400,000 per annum for a cruise vessel. The difference is largely driven by crew, provisions and insurance costs

Even though the expenses for the SMCs have increased around 10% the last years, due to the demand for investment in IT systems and safety and quality management, the weakening of the dollar and the rising service delivery costs, the management fees have stayed at the same levels as in the past or even declined.

On the other hand, those ship management companies, whose parent companies have their own ships, know that there is more profit to be had from more automation. True AI and unmanned or deeply automated shipping is still some years away, although the current pandemic may have hastened its adoption somewhat.

The companies that adopt it are almost assuredly going to be owner-operated such as Maersk, COSCO and such. For more information about Valour Consultancy’s maritime research, please click here.

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When writing commercial articles about the maritime market, I found analogies for players in the ecosystem most useful. After undertaking a recent new research findings on satellite operators, service providers, shipping companies, ship owners (most of the time the former, however, not in some cases), ship managers and seafarers. I thought a simplification of their roles would be beneficial. There are ship owners, ship managers and seafarers who go (down) to the sea in ships. A shipping company’s customer likes to buy a product from A where it is cheap and move it to B where it can be sold to make a profit. To do this require shipping companies and owners to commission shipyards to build metal boxes to carry the product. Sometimes this box is made of steel and floats on the ocean. Sailors live on the ship-box, look after it and care about it. They talk of being married to the ocean and treat the ship as if it is their wife (or husband). Ship managers are relationship experts who try to maintain these many relationships and keep all in good health. Commercially this makes good sense for smaller ship/fleet owners as the overhead and cash flow required for maintaining a crew and vessel management department within the owner’s organisation is onerous. Because management contracts are negotiated mainly on price, margins for ship management companies are squeezed and hiccups in cash-flow, for example an international pandemic which keeps ships from docking and crews from changing, can mean the difference between survival and bankruptcy. Even for larger fleet operators, there is some logic in relieving the parent company of the responsibility and risk inherent in hiring permanent staff for crewing and administration, but cost comparisons must be harder to justify outsourcing. The low freight rates ($1,576 per 40ft container according to Drewry’s World Index) and the pandemic have all taken their toll on the industry and there will likely be cohort of mergers, bankruptcies and acquisitions. Whether a ship owner gives the ship management tasks to a separate division within the company, or outsources the job to a third-party ship manager, the services provided will cover the same operational needs. Third party ship management companies play an important role in the shipping industry. Remit of ship management firms: Ship management usually covers crew management - selection, training, competence, medical fitness for duty, payroll and tax, pension, repatriation, insurance, even union negotiations. Operationally, it might include - supply of necessary victualling, stores, spares, and lubricating oil and services for the ship, repair and maintenance, arranging dry dockings, modification and upgrades, audit planning, monitoring of flag state compliance, classification society compliance, safety and health management and compliance with port and docks security codes. Commercially, services offered include: financial accounting including voyage estimates and issuing voyage instructions, ship financing, newbuilding contracting and supervision, chartering including demurrage, insurance, claims handling, appointing agents, appointing stevedores and arranging surveys associated with commercial operation. In at least the last 20 years, the ownership of the world’s merchant fleet has become more varied. Aside from independent ship owners who have their own ship operating ability, investors, banks and hire companies have bought, or ended up owning by default, ships but do not have the necessary expert knowledge to operate them. However, the relationship between the ship manager and the ship owner is not always ideal. Disputes between them may arise, regarding claims from third parties, standards and the quality of service or of returning asset after the contract terminates. Around 25% of the world’s international trading fleet of ships is reliant on services provided by third party managers in whole or part. How does this situation influence the adoption of smart-ship technology? A little description of the main players follows with their origin, base of operations and some discussion of their approach to smart-ship technology, always remembering that, unless a vessel is built with the necessary sensors and communication capacity, the retrofitting smart-ship technology is an expensive and time consuming business that ship owners rarely want to fund unless promised a clear-cut increase in return for the effort. Anglo Eastern-Univan Group (Hong Kong) started out in 1974 as Anglo-Eastern, a chartering and ship owning company with Anglo-Eastern Management Services being the in-house manager for the ships. This in-house department was the start of the present Anglo-Eastern Group. There was a management buyout in 1998 and a subsequent merger with Scottish ship manager, Denholm Ship Management three years later. Anglo Eastern merged with Univan Group in 2015. It now has roughly 1,700 shore staff and over 27,000 sea crew and combined third party management of nearly 900 ships. A majority of its ships’ crews come from India, Philippines, Ukraine and China. In March 2020, the group announced that it is adopting the Wärtsilä Fleet Operations Solution (FOS) by Transas, in order to optimise the planning, weather routing, fuel consumption, and speed of a vessel. It also facilitates ship to-shore reporting and fleet performance management to reduce fuel consumption taking into consideration charter party compliance, speed management, as well as hull, propeller and engine condition. Key benefits of deploying the Wärtsilä FOS include a unique platform that integrates with a ship’s planning station and electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS), immense cloud computing power, machine learning, data analytics, and onboard/onshore mobile applications. V.Group (London) has been in operation since 1984. It’s core operations are ship operation management; V.Ships leisure; and crew management. Other divisions include the ship supply chain division, marine services division and offshore division. It is 51 per cent owned by a private investment company Advent International. The company website states that it manages 2,200 vessels with a sea crew of 44,000 (half of whom will be at sea and half on liberty) and a shore staff of 3,000 spread over 60 offices. The company employs an in-house integrated management software system called Shipsure 2.0 which can be installed in modules. Fleet (a rebranding from Fleet Management) (Hong Kong) was established in 1994. It provides technical management, ship building, marine insurance, maritime training and crew management to ship owners worldwide. The company manages around 550 cargo vessels, multipurpose vessels, container vessels, bulk carriers, reefer vessels, chemical tankers, gas carriers, product tankers, crude oil, roll-on/roll-off vessels, and pure car carriers. Its crew roster numbers 20,000 and it has 25 offices in 12 countries with a shore staff of 800. The software monitoring system they use is called PARIS (Planning and Reporting Infrastructure for Ship) which is now a cloud-based reporting dashboard for every aspect of a vessel’s performance, condition, operating cost, and crew details. Bernhard Schulte Ship Management (BSM) (Singapore) has more than 135 years in the shipping industry. Originally founded in 1883 as a ship-owner for the timber trade in the Baltic Sea, the family-owned business developed until now, the parent company, Schulte Group, manages a fleet of around 600 vessels, 18,000 seafarers and 2,000 shore based employees through a network of 11 ship management offices, 24 crew service offices and four wholly-owned maritime training centres. The company uses an in-house developed PAL software system, an integrated ship management software suite, on all BSM-managed ships. It is a calendar maintenance schedule with respect to machinery running hours and condition-based maintenance, an enhanced system we use with electronic engine indicators. PAL voyage module is used to monitor ship performance with the data compared to past voyages providing accurate information on the right timing for propeller and hull cleaning. Columbia Shipmanagement (Cyprus) as established in Limassol, in 1978. With more than 380 vessels under full and crew management, 280 new build vessels under supervision, 8 management offices, 14 crewing agencies, more than 15,000 employees. CSM is at the forefront of shipping digitalisation and is a key contributor to the technological revolution in the maritime industry. CSM has a software suite called Performance Optimisation Control Room (POCR) which provides 24/7 expert monitoring of its fleet. The POCR optimises operations in all areas of vessel safety, crew rotation and training, maintenance and fuel efficiency. Synergy Group (Singapore) was founded in 2006. They provide technical management, commercial management, crew management, new ship building, maritime training, pre-purchase inspection, port agency and marine travels. They have more than 300 vessels under management with over 12,000 crew members out of 13 offices in six maritime centres Synergy supervises a diverse fleet which includes LPG tankers, chemical tankers, oil tankers (VLCC, Suezmax, Aframax, LR2, LR1 and MR), container vessels in the 1,800 TEU to >20,000 TEU capacity and every size of bulk carrier. Its in-house software, known as ‘ShipPalm’, runs their ship management software that is regulatory compliant. It provides an integrated business solution to Synergy’s Ship Management division. It is modular in concept and can monitor voyage performance, keeps track of certificates, has a documents management module, a defect reports module, crewing module, purchase module. It includes a planned maintenance system and can produce business intelligence reports. Furthermore, the company has introduced the SmartShip Technology into one of its group vessels, Trammo Dietlin which is the first vessel to receive the Certificate of Class, ‘AL-SAFE’ notation from Lloyd’s Register. This is the first example of a ship certified to stream data into a big data platform. Elements of the navigation, cargo and machinery systems have been certified AL2, which means ‘systems provide on and off-ship decision support for operators’. This provides operators and shore-based support staff with instant access to operating data from these systems for monitoring and diagnostics through the cloud, with which they can make more informed decisions and respond to issues faster and more efficiently. The Air Handling Unit has been certified AL3 which means ‘systems that operate autonomously, but with an active human ‘in-the-loop’’. Wallem Group (Hong Kong) was established in 1903 by Haakon Wallem in Shanghai. Now it manages more than 350 ships with 7,000 qualified seafarers and 1,000 shore-based staff in 17 countries with 8 training centres. The software suite it employs is BASSnet currently trialled on three vessels using Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress – a crude/oil products tanker and two vehicle transporters. After setting up the planned maintenance databases for the three pilot vessels. and revamped the chart of accounts with the aim of making it more granular, enabling more detailed comparisons and analysis of actual and budgeted costs, and allow greater transparency in reporting to vessel owners. Wallem is also linking BASSnet up with the company’s other software with a view to harnessing ‘Big Data’ across Wallem’s business process and reducing administrative burden. Initially this will see automation of the invoices register and procurement management process and integration with COMPAS – the crew management software used by Wallem seafarers. BASSnet is also an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform. Thome Ship Management (Singapore) was, set up in 1963 and undertook agency work mainly for Scandinavian owners, in addition to his chartering and shipbroking activities. In 2013, the company had more than 400 vessels under full technical management serviced by 750 shore staff and 12,000 crew members in 11 locations. It is not clear if there is a company-wide monitoring and management suite of software. Wilhelmsen Ship Management (Lysaker, Norway) Founded in 1861, the parent company Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA is a global maritime industry group employing more than 21,000 people. They deliver products and services to more than half of the world's merchant fleet, along with crew and technical management to the biggest vessels at sea. Its ship management division is a 45 year old stand-alone entity fully owned by the parent company. It manages 396 ships, employs 4,500 marine professionals (shared with other group companies) servicing 2,200 ports in 125 countries and has 9,200 active seafarers. WSM uses a range of software suites to address different aspects of voyage, engine and fuel efficiency, client and supplier information including FRED (Framework for Enterprise Data) a customer portal for securely accessing their transaction information, including invoices, delivery notes, order history and current delivery status of orders. It also allows customers to retrieve certificates for products such as ropes, along with providing an instant overview of which cylinders they have on board, and where. For engine rooms, they have trialled the ER-EMT solution (engine room - energy management technology) “True Demand”. This automation technology responds to the varying conditions of the engine room. It delivers direct energy savings, and also allows the crew to constantly monitor and verify the status of each controlled unit and ensure that the savings are sustainable and extending the scope for benchmarking and energy optimisation. It is thought that WSM also use Kongsberg and Honeywell integrated automation systems. Wilhelmsen Ship Management has entered into strategic partnerships with DNV GL, Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) and University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) for the development of autonomous shipping operations. OSM Maritime (Kristiansand, Limassol, Singapore) Founded in 1989, OSM is now a leading provider of full-service solutions to the Offshore and Maritime Industry with more than 12,000 employees, 30 office locations, 500 vessels under management. OSM recently announced that it has extended its partnership with Tero Marine, and will install its TM Master suite on the remaining OSM fleet globally. The frame agreement with Tero Marine means that all vessels with various planned maintenance systems across the OSM fleet would be standardised on TM Master. At the core of this digitalisation is the visualisation of quality data which are used to monitor the fleet and provide real-time support to the crew, around-the-clock, performance management and fast response capabilities if the need arises. Combined with an analytics platform that helps them capture and act on detailed insights from the data, the company has tested artificial intelligence capabilities that enable the platform to identify advanced correlations that humans would normally not be able to catch on first sight. TM Master as the preferred maintenance and purchasing system will fit into this digital strategy. TM Master has been designed to enable you to take care of your assets; vessels, crew and cargo. The fleet management system consists of the following modules: maintenance, procurement, human resources and quality & environment. TM Master is designed to work with future operating systems and is also ideally suited for integration with third party software such as ERP software.

Conclusion

Ship management companies seem to be divided into two types; those that developed from departments of ship owners and charterers such as Anglo-Eastern, BSM, Wallem and Wilhelmsen. The other is those that have been more recently set up specifically to cater to the ship management industry. This reflects in their approach to automation and AI. It makes little financial sense to promote technology that reduces or diminishes reliance on technically and legally qualified crew if one of your main streams of income is manning and associated costs. Dr Malcolm Willingale of Henley Business School and author, with others, of “Ship Management” has suggested that the level of the management fees might be around $75,000 – 100,000 per annum for a bulk carrier, $90,000 - 150,000 per annum for a tanker and approximately $400,000 per annum for a cruise vessel. The difference is largely driven by crew, provisions and insurance costs Even though the expenses for the SMCs have increased around 10% the last years, due to the demand for investment in IT systems and safety and quality management, the weakening of the dollar and the rising service delivery costs, the management fees have stayed at the same levels as in the past or even declined. On the other hand, those ship management companies, whose parent companies have their own ships, know that there is more profit to be had from more automation. True AI and unmanned or deeply automated shipping is still some years away, although the current pandemic may have hastened its adoption somewhat. The companies that adopt it are almost assuredly going to be owner-operated such as Maersk, COSCO and such. For more information about Valour Consultancy’s maritime research, please click here.
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Telemedicine services at sea will become a must after Covid-19

Virtual Medical Services

With the abundance of connectivity today, video consultations are becoming the norm. It’s quick, convenient and highly useful.

In the UK, the NHS has been promoting an app which enables online consultations for people to contact their general practitioner doctor (GP), or other required health care profession. This can range from electronic message, phone or video call, or a face-to-face appointment at a later date if required.

The first wave of Covid-19 has been raging for months, and sadly, the pandemic has greatly impacted many peoples’ lives. One of the key battling grounds for diagnosing this virus has been testing and diagnosing it in the early stages, some countries like Germany and South Korea have done a great job of this. The lessons from dealing with this pandemic will lead to many changes in the future. In particular, large data analyses will lead to radical rethinking by governments charged with medical responsibility. In countries where there is a free-market health industry may take some time to catch up because of lack of central responsibility.

One such change in the maritime industry will be the inclusion of telemedicine services. The shortage of skilled medical workers and a lack of healthcare infrastructure at sea will be evaluated thoroughly in the coming months. We can expect a much larger part to be played by AI in initial diagnosis and preventative medicine. Seamen may be required to wear wrist health monitors (similar to fitbits). Cruise ships, even those who normally carry medical staff, will need to increase their vigilance to prevent another industry shut-down which is likely to last six months or more. Centralised air-conditioning systems will need to be re-evaluated as will many other shared facilities. Many Cruise operators already operate smart-token systems allowing access and monitoring of movement of passengers. It would not be out of order if these tokens also recorded activity and basic health parameters, alerting a medical AI system to any potential problems.

Providing crew welfare services like the ability for seafarers to communicate with their families and friends is now a must. Providing healthcare services to crew will also become a major factor soon. Telemedicine offers practical and valuable solution to address this matter. A potentially ill seafarer can be examined via videolink without a nurse or doctor being there in person providing simple variables such as temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure and blood sugar and blood oxygen levels can be provided automatically. These are all well within the bounds of current technology. These are already available to many land-based patients in this new world of social distancing after lockdowns will be ended in most countries soon. A medical professional or team with an AI sidekick will likely be able to cover a large number of vessels per fleet, providing infections or outbreaks are not too great.

From a crew member’s perspective, one of the biggest concerns of an illness is the uncertainty of what it is and what it could lead to. Alleviating these worries will be a plus for crew wellbeing and will go a long way meet new maritime labour regulations that are soon to be promoted by the IMO/STCW labour regulations and probably the EU too.

We will likely see a host of connectivity service providers, such as Marlink and Inmarsat offering such value-added services in addition to its connectivity ones. From designs already available, some cost effective basic medical equipment will be required with an interface for the patient or administer and a camera for recording purposes. Basic medical equipment could include a blood pressure monitor, electro cardiograph, pulse oximeter, ultrasound device or thermometer. The range of equipment for the customer can easily be adjusted based seafarers’ medical histories and their likely conditions. It is unlikely we will see intensive care units or beds onboard a vessel, or breathing apparatus. If a seafarer does suffer from an acute Covid-19 attack, they would likely be flown off the vessel to a medical facility. By far the most common health emergency for sea-farers is accident, heart attack and stroke.

Valour Consultancy expects nearly 60-70 per cent of commercial vessels with VSAT to adopt telemedicine services in the next two to three years.

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It’s quick, convenient and highly useful. In the UK, the NHS has been promoting an app which enables online consultations for people to contact their general practitioner doctor (GP), or other required health care profession. This can range from electronic message, phone or video call, or a face-to-face appointment at a later date if required. The first wave of Covid-19 has been raging for months, and sadly, the pandemic has greatly impacted many peoples’ lives. One of the key battling grounds for diagnosing this virus has been testing and diagnosing it in the early stages, some countries like Germany and South Korea have done a great job of this. The lessons from dealing with this pandemic will lead to many changes in the future. In particular, large data analyses will lead to radical rethinking by governments charged with medical responsibility. In countries where there is a free-market health industry may take some time to catch up because of lack of central responsibility. One such change in the maritime industry will be the inclusion of telemedicine services. The shortage of skilled medical workers and a lack of healthcare infrastructure at sea will be evaluated thoroughly in the coming months. We can expect a much larger part to be played by AI in initial diagnosis and preventative medicine. Seamen may be required to wear wrist health monitors (similar to fitbits). Cruise ships, even those who normally carry medical staff, will need to increase their vigilance to prevent another industry shut-down which is likely to last six months or more. Centralised air-conditioning systems will need to be re-evaluated as will many other shared facilities. Many Cruise operators already operate smart-token systems allowing access and monitoring of movement of passengers. It would not be out of order if these tokens also recorded activity and basic health parameters, alerting a medical AI system to any potential problems. Providing crew welfare services like the ability for seafarers to communicate with their families and friends is now a must. Providing healthcare services to crew will also become a major factor soon. Telemedicine offers practical and valuable solution to address this matter. A potentially ill seafarer can be examined via videolink without a nurse or doctor being there in person providing simple variables such as temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure and blood sugar and blood oxygen levels can be provided automatically. These are all well within the bounds of current technology. These are already available to many land-based patients in this new world of social distancing after lockdowns will be ended in most countries soon. A medical professional or team with an AI sidekick will likely be able to cover a large number of vessels per fleet, providing infections or outbreaks are not too great. From a crew member’s perspective, one of the biggest concerns of an illness is the uncertainty of what it is and what it could lead to. Alleviating these worries will be a plus for crew wellbeing and will go a long way meet new maritime labour regulations that are soon to be promoted by the IMO/STCW labour regulations and probably the EU too. We will likely see a host of connectivity service providers, such as Marlink and Inmarsat offering such value-added services in addition to its connectivity ones. From designs already available, some cost effective basic medical equipment will be required with an interface for the patient or administer and a camera for recording purposes. Basic medical equipment could include a blood pressure monitor, electro cardiograph, pulse oximeter, ultrasound device or thermometer. The range of equipment for the customer can easily be adjusted based seafarers’ medical histories and their likely conditions. It is unlikely we will see intensive care units or beds onboard a vessel, or breathing apparatus. If a seafarer does suffer from an acute Covid-19 attack, they would likely be flown off the vessel to a medical facility. By far the most common health emergency for sea-farers is accident, heart attack and stroke. Valour Consultancy expects nearly 60-70 per cent of commercial vessels with VSAT to adopt telemedicine services in the next two to three years. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

OneWeb Bankruptcy Only Intensifies Battle for ESA Supremacy

On March 27th 2020, London-based satellite firm, OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, and in doing so surprised some and merely confirmed what others had seen coming for some time. Much has been written, both pre- and post-bankruptcy, around the challenges associated with making the LEO business model work and, more specifically what was wrong with OneWeb’s approach. This post won’t be adding to that commentary. I’ve instead opted to focus on the potential impact to those involved in the production of the next generation of antennas, which rely heavily on LEO constellations succeeding.

Right now, there is a race (perhaps better labelled a marathon at this point) been run amongst a sizeable number of hardware manufacturers to build a new generation of fully electronically steerable antennas (ESA’s), primarily to bring the best out of NGSO satellite constellations. I respectfully refer to this as a marathon rather than a sprint because developing such a solution has proven costly and complex, and despite years of rhetoric, an ESA which hits all the right notes remains elusive. Having been fortunate enough to meet with a number of the vendors currently developing ESA’s, there can be no doubt the industry is as close as it has ever been to bringing a commercially ready product to market. But there is also still some way to go, and for most, continued development (and ultimately getting a product to market) depends on further investment and agreements, primarily with NGSO operators like OneWeb.

The significance of OneWeb in the context of this story lies mostly in the fact it had progressed as far as actually sending some satellites into orbit. Whilst those in the know will likely shake their heads reading this, OneWeb’s LEO constellation was perceived by many as one of the few that would eventually go on to succeed; perhaps symbolic of how much uncertainty and confusion there is linked to LEO. This “front runner” status and broad target market made OneWeb an attractive target for any ESA manufacturer looking to raise its profile through association. Notable examples include Istropic Systems, which in 2018 announced it was to develop an ultra-low-cost consumer broadband terminal for OneWeb primed for various end-user applications, and US-based Wafer, a company self-funded by OneWeb founder, Greg Wyler, which was reported to be working toward delivering a low-cost ESA for the LEO network this year.

The need to remain relevant in the seemingly inevitable era of LEO isn’t reserved solely for ESA vendors. In March 2020, Intellian and Cobham signed contracts to manufacture “more traditional” parabolic user terminals destined for OneWeb’s prospective enterprise, cellular backhaul, maritime and government clients. OneWeb’s bankruptcy will no doubt have repercussions here too but Intellian and Cobham are arguably better placed to cushion the blow by being able to fall back on existing GEO business segments, most notably maritime connectivity where the two have a combined 70 per cent share of active installed VSAT terminals.

Furthermore, despite what some may say, the current cost and fundamental physics associated with ESA’s dictates that the business case for them falls apart without NGSO constellations. This isn’t to say collaboration between ESA manufacturers and GEO operators is to be disregarded. Inmarsat, Intelsat and Viasat are just three GEO incumbents known to active in the ESA segment today. The former is understood to be keeping a close eye on ESA developments as part of continued enhancements to its GX network, which will include two new payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) from 2022. High up on that list is a collaboration between Safran and Jet-Talk (a joint venture between ST Electronics and Satixfy) which are forging ahead with development of an ARINC 792 compliant ESA that could become the first ESA antenna certified for GX. Intelsat, meanwhile, has brought Kymeta on as a preferred supplier of Communications-on-the-Move (COTM) terminals as part of its FlexMove services.

But the point here is that success will not come by competing with existing antenna technology in the GEO arena alone, especially in fixed terminal market where incumbent technology is more cost effective today. The commercial launch of large-scale LEO constellations that lend themselves to ESA’s are an essential ingredient in the mix. It can be argued that OneWeb’s fall pushes back the already overdue timeframe for a commercially ready LEO constellation becoming active by at least a year or more.

Clearly then, the loss of OneWeb can only be seen as a set-back for those with a stake in the development of ESA’s and the situation is only made worse by the current stance of the other current major player, SpaceX to manufacture terminals in-house. But, as touched upon briefly above, there are positives. In the short term, a small number of solutions will be deployed in GEO mobility applications, specifically the military sector and aviation, where price sensitivity is minimal, reliability is crucial, and discretion is king. There are also other operators still pushing ahead with commitments to build NGSO constellations, most notably; SES with its O3b mPOWER MEO constellation, Amazon (with it Kuiper project), Telesat and China’s proposed Hongyun and Hongyan constellations. There could also yet be a reincarnation of OneWeb that goes on to succeed where v1.0 failed – we’ve seen that before.

But what should become clear is that there is now a greater pressure on ESA manufacturers to build confidence and stand out from the crowd by forging partnerships with GEO, MEO and LEO operators, as well as influential end-users such as government departments. None of which will happen without possessing the technology to back up the rhetoric.

Linked to the above, Isotropic Systems continues to work toward a 2022 launch of its terminal designed for SES’ O3b mPOWER constellation, having been chosen as a preferred supplier, along with ALCAN and Viasat. Similarly, Gilat Satellite Networks and Ball Aerospace are just two of the vendors to carry out ESA demonstrations with Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite. The former performed what is thought to be the first in-flight test of an ESA over a NGSO satellite. Telesat has also doubled down on its intentions to build a LEO constellation of 300 satellites in a March 2020 investor call. Finally, in May 2019 Boeing Phantom Works announced it will deploy its in-house built ESA on new U.S. Navy MQ-25 drones as part of a wider military contract it had won.

In summary, the fall of OneWeb by no means kills off the ESA story. Far from it. But from my point of view, what it does do is both delay the arrival of commercially ready solutions hitting the market and speed up the rate at which manufacturers will drop out of the ESA race. The intensity has been turned up a notch and what we should now see is the cream to rise to the top.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" hundred_percent_height="no" hundred_percent_height_scroll="no" hundred_percent_height_center_content="yes" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" status="published" publish_date="" class="" id="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" gradient_start_color="" gradient_end_color="" gradient_start_position="0" gradient_end_position="100" gradient_type="linear" radial_direction="center" linear_angle="180" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_blend_mode="none" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" video_preview_image="" filter_hue="0" filter_saturation="100" filter_brightness="100" filter_contrast="100" filter_invert="0" filter_sepia="0" filter_opacity="100" filter_blur="0" filter_hue_hover="0" filter_saturation_hover="100" filter_brightness_hover="100" filter_contrast_hover="100" filter_invert_hover="0" filter_sepia_hover="0" filter_opacity_hover="100" filter_blur_hover="0"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" spacing="" center_content="no" link="" target="_self" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" hover_type="none" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" border_radius="" box_shadow="no" dimension_box_shadow="" box_shadow_blur="0" box_shadow_spread="0" box_shadow_color="" box_shadow_style="" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" background_type="single" gradient_start_color="" gradient_end_color="" gradient_start_position="0" gradient_end_position="100" gradient_type="linear" radial_direction="center" linear_angle="180" background_color="" background_image="" background_image_id="" background_position="left top" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_blend_mode="none" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset="" filter_type="regular" filter_hue="0" filter_saturation="100" filter_brightness="100" filter_contrast="100" filter_invert="0" filter_sepia="0" filter_opacity="100" filter_blur="0" filter_hue_hover="0" filter_saturation_hover="100" filter_brightness_hover="100" filter_contrast_hover="100" filter_invert_hover="0" filter_sepia_hover="0" filter_opacity_hover="100" filter_blur_hover="0" last="no"][fusion_imageframe image_id="5384|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]https://valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/international-space-station-1176518_1920-e1588731887331.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="default" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="#ffffff" top_margin="20" bottom_margin="20" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""] On March 27th 2020, London-based satellite firm, OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, and in doing so surprised some and merely confirmed what others had seen coming for some time. Much has been written, both pre- and post-bankruptcy, around the challenges associated with making the LEO business model work and, more specifically what was wrong with OneWeb’s approach. This post won’t be adding to that commentary. I’ve instead opted to focus on the potential impact to those involved in the production of the next generation of antennas, which rely heavily on LEO constellations succeeding. Right now, there is a race (perhaps better labelled a marathon at this point) been run amongst a sizeable number of hardware manufacturers to build a new generation of fully electronically steerable antennas (ESA’s), primarily to bring the best out of NGSO satellite constellations. I respectfully refer to this as a marathon rather than a sprint because developing such a solution has proven costly and complex, and despite years of rhetoric, an ESA which hits all the right notes remains elusive. Having been fortunate enough to meet with a number of the vendors currently developing ESA’s, there can be no doubt the industry is as close as it has ever been to bringing a commercially ready product to market. But there is also still some way to go, and for most, continued development (and ultimately getting a product to market) depends on further investment and agreements, primarily with NGSO operators like OneWeb. The significance of OneWeb in the context of this story lies mostly in the fact it had progressed as far as actually sending some satellites into orbit. Whilst those in the know will likely shake their heads reading this, OneWeb’s LEO constellation was perceived by many as one of the few that would eventually go on to succeed; perhaps symbolic of how much uncertainty and confusion there is linked to LEO. This “front runner” status and broad target market made OneWeb an attractive target for any ESA manufacturer looking to raise its profile through association. Notable examples include Istropic Systems, which in 2018 announced it was to develop an ultra-low-cost consumer broadband terminal for OneWeb primed for various end-user applications, and US-based Wafer, a company self-funded by OneWeb founder, Greg Wyler, which was reported to be working toward delivering a low-cost ESA for the LEO network this year. The need to remain relevant in the seemingly inevitable era of LEO isn’t reserved solely for ESA vendors. In March 2020, Intellian and Cobham signed contracts to manufacture “more traditional” parabolic user terminals destined for OneWeb’s prospective enterprise, cellular backhaul, maritime and government clients. OneWeb’s bankruptcy will no doubt have repercussions here too but Intellian and Cobham are arguably better placed to cushion the blow by being able to fall back on existing GEO business segments, most notably maritime connectivity where the two have a combined 70 per cent share of active installed VSAT terminals. Furthermore, despite what some may say, the current cost and fundamental physics associated with ESA’s dictates that the business case for them falls apart without NGSO constellations. This isn’t to say collaboration between ESA manufacturers and GEO operators is to be disregarded. Inmarsat, Intelsat and Viasat are just three GEO incumbents known to active in the ESA segment today. The former is understood to be keeping a close eye on ESA developments as part of continued enhancements to its GX network, which will include two new payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) from 2022. High up on that list is a collaboration between Safran and Jet-Talk (a joint venture between ST Electronics and Satixfy) which are forging ahead with development of an ARINC 792 compliant ESA that could become the first ESA antenna certified for GX. Intelsat, meanwhile, has brought Kymeta on as a preferred supplier of Communications-on-the-Move (COTM) terminals as part of its FlexMove services. But the point here is that success will not come by competing with existing antenna technology in the GEO arena alone, especially in fixed terminal market where incumbent technology is more cost effective today. The commercial launch of large-scale LEO constellations that lend themselves to ESA’s are an essential ingredient in the mix. It can be argued that OneWeb’s fall pushes back the already overdue timeframe for a commercially ready LEO constellation becoming active by at least a year or more. Clearly then, the loss of OneWeb can only be seen as a set-back for those with a stake in the development of ESA’s and the situation is only made worse by the current stance of the other current major player, SpaceX to manufacture terminals in-house. But, as touched upon briefly above, there are positives. In the short term, a small number of solutions will be deployed in GEO mobility applications, specifically the military sector and aviation, where price sensitivity is minimal, reliability is crucial, and discretion is king. There are also other operators still pushing ahead with commitments to build NGSO constellations, most notably; SES with its O3b mPOWER MEO constellation, Amazon (with it Kuiper project), Telesat and China’s proposed Hongyun and Hongyan constellations. There could also yet be a reincarnation of OneWeb that goes on to succeed where v1.0 failed – we’ve seen that before. But what should become clear is that there is now a greater pressure on ESA manufacturers to build confidence and stand out from the crowd by forging partnerships with GEO, MEO and LEO operators, as well as influential end-users such as government departments. None of which will happen without possessing the technology to back up the rhetoric. Linked to the above, Isotropic Systems continues to work toward a 2022 launch of its terminal designed for SES’ O3b mPOWER constellation, having been chosen as a preferred supplier, along with ALCAN and Viasat. Similarly, Gilat Satellite Networks and Ball Aerospace are just two of the vendors to carry out ESA demonstrations with Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite. The former performed what is thought to be the first in-flight test of an ESA over a NGSO satellite. Telesat has also doubled down on its intentions to build a LEO constellation of 300 satellites in a March 2020 investor call. Finally, in May 2019 Boeing Phantom Works announced it will deploy its in-house built ESA on new U.S. Navy MQ-25 drones as part of a wider military contract it had won. In summary, the fall of OneWeb by no means kills off the ESA story. Far from it. But from my point of view, what it does do is both delay the arrival of commercially ready solutions hitting the market and speed up the rate at which manufacturers will drop out of the ESA race. The intensity has been turned up a notch and what we should now see is the cream to rise to the top. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Calm Seas and Smooth Surfing

Author: Steve Flood and Josh Flood

This is all in the future. But what about the future future? Almost all the projects described in the last article, bar one or two, are retrofits of existing vessels. They are the projects of specialist technologically advanced consortia. As the demand for autonomous shipping grips the maritime fleet owners, they will look to the shipyards to incorporate the sensors, controls and communications equipment in their newbuilds.

Larger fleet owners such as Maersk, COSCO, Hapag-Lloyd and MSC will be able to write exacting specifications when they approach a shipyard to build 5 or 10 autonomous vessels. Over 40% of the tonnage of trading vessels in the world consists of dry bulk carriers which are ideal for automisation, as are the 28% that are oil tankers and the 13% that are container ships. CSIC, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, STX and DSME shipyards will have the resources and be happy to comply with the requirements of the heavy hitters in the Merchant Navy.

Smaller fleet operators, say, with less than ten vessels, who order ships individually, will expect the shipyard to supply the automisation. The Korean and Singaporean yards already have smart ship projects underway, as do Mitsubishi in Japan. Yards in China, other yards in Japan and elsewhere will have to bring in expertise. Hyundai’s collaboration with Accenture to develop OceanLink is described as a ‘smart ship’ platform for the shipbuilding, shipping, and onshore-logistics sectors. Daewoo (DSME) shipyard has received Approval in Principle (AiP) from Lloyd’s Register for its collaboration with Korean marine system experts, marineworks, who use KVH communication systems for its smart ship solution (DS4) for new container ships.

Without completely destroying the romance, it is possible to describe a merchant ship as a big box with a large engine driving the propeller. To look after the engine, there is an engine control room into which all the parameters of the engine and ancillary equipment are fed and where activities can be scheduled to keep everything running in a tickety-boo fashion. To keep the ship heading in the right direction, there is a bridge or navigation control room somewhere up high where the helmsman can see the horizon.

Experience with drones has suggested that there is no need for the pilot to sit at the sharp end of a plane but can operate his vehicle from the comfort of his armchair in Texas. In the same way, the chief engineer need not man the engine control room aboard his ship nor the skipper pace the bridge. The major difference between a drone and a cargo ship is the sheer volume of data. Even in the most basic of cargo ships there will be hundreds of sensors on the engines and ancillary equipment plus CCTV, fire alarms, gas detectors, stress measurements, safety systems etc. The bridge will be equally bedecked with data points and all these are connected by tens of miles of wiring.

Admittedly the vast majority of data travelling these wires does not need to be transmitted instantaneously to any remote control room. Warnings, alarms and requests for action do need to be addressed in short order and there are plenty of these, even in the most well-maintained and efficient of ships. It may be considered that artificial intelligence (AI) can sort through these and deal with the most routine. Technically competent engineers and seamen who have not only the knowledge and experience to understand the potential problems and understand the coding needed to deal with this, in AI, are relatively rare. For this reason alone, progress needs to be considerate and systems commissioned to deal with failure and not just to comply with rules and specifications.

Typically a smart ship system can be described as an array of modules each designed to do the job once done by seamen. The accumulated data derived from the observations, decisions and actions of these pseudo-cyber-seamen modules can amount to Terabytes per hour. If live-streaming CCTV is added, there is going to be a need for a large amount of communication capacity.

And then there is the problem of the communication infrastructure – Low Earth Orbit (LEO) arrays such as Iridium, OneWeb, LeoSat, O3b and Elon Musk’s Starlink promise the potential of significant data transfer. Indeed, Samsung published a paper in 2015 proposal suggesting the provision of a Zetabyte/month capacity which is equivalent to 200GB/month for 5 Billion users worldwide. The problem for such a proposal is underutilisation. Such satellites orbit the earth every two hours and, of that, spend about one third over populated areas where they are used fully.

Geostationary arrays, such as Inmarsat, Intelsat and Echostar, and Medium Earth orbit arrays such as Galileo, GPS and GLONASS are positioned for populous areas but also have spare time on their antennae. To fully utilise these arrays, there needs to be users around the globe and the oceans have a relative dearth of need.

A quick look at marine traffic (www.marinetraffic.com) on an unremarkable Sunday 21st July 2019 shows that there are over 200,000 marine vessels large enough to be fitted with an AIS tracker sailing the oceans blue. All of these are currently being tracked by satellite. Admittedly they don’t send a lot of data back home, just enough for tracking purposes. If they were all smart or smartish, then there is a need for a large data pipeline back to headquarters.

The serendipitous, or not so serendipitous, advancement of autonomous shipping and satellite communication has potentially many benefits – cheaper trade, safer ships (it is estimated that 75 to 96% of shipping accidents involve human error), less pollution, greater fuel efficiency – one research project by MUNIN (Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks) predicted savings of over $7m over a 25-year period per autonomous vessel in fuel consumption and crew supplies and salaries.

Of course, there are downsides, for instance, a large initial capital expenditure in technology, not only for the ship itself, but also of onshore operations to monitor fleet movements. There is also the danger that occurs during in any transition between current manned marine fleet and any unmanned vessel. A lack of crew will also make maintenance of moving parts incredibly difficult on long voyages and breakdowns could result in significant delays.

Something that is scantly regarded is the removal of benefit of international inter-reaction. Each of these ships will have crews of international origin. This is estimated at 1,647,500 seafarers, of which 774,000 are officers and 873,500 are ratings. China, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine are the five largest nationalities of all seafarers (officers and ratings). The Philippines is the biggest supplier of ratings, followed by China, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. While China is the biggest supplier of officers, followed by the Philippines, India, Indonesia and the Russian Federation. These crews rub along quite well generally, and as one who has spent some time at sea, the writer can state that one of the great pleasures of sea-time (and one of the great annoyances) is inter-reacting with all the foreign crew members and learning about their culture and cuisine.

However autonomous shipping is steaming over the horizon and it must be welcomed into port if our general prosperity is to increase. The really interesting time comes after autonomous shipping when AI takes over the logistics and trading, assessing cargo prices and starts re-routing ships to maximise profit.

For more information on Valour Consultancy’s maritime connectivity, digital applications, cybersecurity, autonomous maritime vessel and other maritime reports, please contact   info@valourconsultancy.com and “Maritime Research” in the subject line.

 

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4774|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Calm-Seas-and-Smooth-Sailing-1.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_text] Author: Steve Flood and Josh Flood This is all in the future. But what about the future future? Almost all the projects described in the last article, bar one or two, are retrofits of existing vessels. They are the projects of specialist technologically advanced consortia. As the demand for autonomous shipping grips the maritime fleet owners, they will look to the shipyards to incorporate the sensors, controls and communications equipment in their newbuilds. Larger fleet owners such as Maersk, COSCO, Hapag-Lloyd and MSC will be able to write exacting specifications when they approach a shipyard to build 5 or 10 autonomous vessels. Over 40% of the tonnage of trading vessels in the world consists of dry bulk carriers which are ideal for automisation, as are the 28% that are oil tankers and the 13% that are container ships. CSIC, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, STX and DSME shipyards will have the resources and be happy to comply with the requirements of the heavy hitters in the Merchant Navy. Smaller fleet operators, say, with less than ten vessels, who order ships individually, will expect the shipyard to supply the automisation. The Korean and Singaporean yards already have smart ship projects underway, as do Mitsubishi in Japan. Yards in China, other yards in Japan and elsewhere will have to bring in expertise. Hyundai’s collaboration with Accenture to develop OceanLink is described as a ‘smart ship’ platform for the shipbuilding, shipping, and onshore-logistics sectors. Daewoo (DSME) shipyard has received Approval in Principle (AiP) from Lloyd’s Register for its collaboration with Korean marine system experts, marineworks, who use KVH communication systems for its smart ship solution (DS4) for new container ships. Without completely destroying the romance, it is possible to describe a merchant ship as a big box with a large engine driving the propeller. To look after the engine, there is an engine control room into which all the parameters of the engine and ancillary equipment are fed and where activities can be scheduled to keep everything running in a tickety-boo fashion. To keep the ship heading in the right direction, there is a bridge or navigation control room somewhere up high where the helmsman can see the horizon. Experience with drones has suggested that there is no need for the pilot to sit at the sharp end of a plane but can operate his vehicle from the comfort of his armchair in Texas. In the same way, the chief engineer need not man the engine control room aboard his ship nor the skipper pace the bridge. The major difference between a drone and a cargo ship is the sheer volume of data. Even in the most basic of cargo ships there will be hundreds of sensors on the engines and ancillary equipment plus CCTV, fire alarms, gas detectors, stress measurements, safety systems etc. The bridge will be equally bedecked with data points and all these are connected by tens of miles of wiring. Admittedly the vast majority of data travelling these wires does not need to be transmitted instantaneously to any remote control room. Warnings, alarms and requests for action do need to be addressed in short order and there are plenty of these, even in the most well-maintained and efficient of ships. It may be considered that artificial intelligence (AI) can sort through these and deal with the most routine. Technically competent engineers and seamen who have not only the knowledge and experience to understand the potential problems and understand the coding needed to deal with this, in AI, are relatively rare. For this reason alone, progress needs to be considerate and systems commissioned to deal with failure and not just to comply with rules and specifications. Typically a smart ship system can be described as an array of modules each designed to do the job once done by seamen. The accumulated data derived from the observations, decisions and actions of these pseudo-cyber-seamen modules can amount to Terabytes per hour. If live-streaming CCTV is added, there is going to be a need for a large amount of communication capacity. And then there is the problem of the communication infrastructure – Low Earth Orbit (LEO) arrays such as Iridium, OneWeb, LeoSat, O3b and Elon Musk’s Starlink promise the potential of significant data transfer. Indeed, Samsung published a paper in 2015 proposal suggesting the provision of a Zetabyte/month capacity which is equivalent to 200GB/month for 5 Billion users worldwide. The problem for such a proposal is underutilisation. Such satellites orbit the earth every two hours and, of that, spend about one third over populated areas where they are used fully. Geostationary arrays, such as Inmarsat, Intelsat and Echostar, and Medium Earth orbit arrays such as Galileo, GPS and GLONASS are positioned for populous areas but also have spare time on their antennae. To fully utilise these arrays, there needs to be users around the globe and the oceans have a relative dearth of need. A quick look at marine traffic (www.marinetraffic.com) on an unremarkable Sunday 21st July 2019 shows that there are over 200,000 marine vessels large enough to be fitted with an AIS tracker sailing the oceans blue. All of these are currently being tracked by satellite. Admittedly they don’t send a lot of data back home, just enough for tracking purposes. If they were all smart or smartish, then there is a need for a large data pipeline back to headquarters. The serendipitous, or not so serendipitous, advancement of autonomous shipping and satellite communication has potentially many benefits – cheaper trade, safer ships (it is estimated that 75 to 96% of shipping accidents involve human error), less pollution, greater fuel efficiency – one research project by MUNIN (Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks) predicted savings of over $7m over a 25-year period per autonomous vessel in fuel consumption and crew supplies and salaries. Of course, there are downsides, for instance, a large initial capital expenditure in technology, not only for the ship itself, but also of onshore operations to monitor fleet movements. There is also the danger that occurs during in any transition between current manned marine fleet and any unmanned vessel. A lack of crew will also make maintenance of moving parts incredibly difficult on long voyages and breakdowns could result in significant delays. Something that is scantly regarded is the removal of benefit of international inter-reaction. Each of these ships will have crews of international origin. This is estimated at 1,647,500 seafarers, of which 774,000 are officers and 873,500 are ratings. China, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine are the five largest nationalities of all seafarers (officers and ratings). The Philippines is the biggest supplier of ratings, followed by China, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. While China is the biggest supplier of officers, followed by the Philippines, India, Indonesia and the Russian Federation. These crews rub along quite well generally, and as one who has spent some time at sea, the writer can state that one of the great pleasures of sea-time (and one of the great annoyances) is inter-reacting with all the foreign crew members and learning about their culture and cuisine. However autonomous shipping is steaming over the horizon and it must be welcomed into port if our general prosperity is to increase. The really interesting time comes after autonomous shipping when AI takes over the logistics and trading, assessing cargo prices and starts re-routing ships to maximise profit. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s maritime connectivity, digital applications, cybersecurity, autonomous maritime vessel and other maritime reports, please contact   info@valourconsultancy.com and “Maritime Research” in the subject line.   [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Time to Get Your Assets in Gear

Author: Steve Flood and Josh Flood

For some time, the maritime and offshore industry has been dipping its toe into the potential benefit pool of remote monitoring, predictive maintenance and reliability surveillance of its remote assets. This is the result of two threads of development; one coming from deep water inshore and one going from inshore towards deep water.

Almost all modern international and coastal shipping uses sophisticated engine monitoring and control systems as supplied by the engine manufacturer (normally required as any part of a performance guarantee).

Below is a list of major marine engine manufacturers and their control systems. These are not in any particular order and there are several more producing smaller engines.

The reason these are mentioned is that the age of the “Smart Ship” has been creeping towards us for several decades. Various pieces of a ship’s operation have been under stand-alone microprocessor control and monitoring for some time – the engine, fire suppression, air-conditioning and, even to a certain extent, navigation and bridge control.

Largely, as a result of the needs of the deep-water offshore oil exploration vessels that work in waters of such depths that anchorage is not possible, these independent systems have been brought together as suites of allied programmes or applications that report to a supervisory program which controls their performance and the vessel behaviour according to parameters given it and reports any malfunctions or warnings to the marine and engineering crew. These have developed sufficiently that when danger threatens, such as a major hurricane, the crews are taken ashore and the deep-water vessels are left under autonomic control. The big names here are Kongsberg, GE Power Conversion (previously Converteam), Siemens, Wärtsilä and ABB (Ability Marine Pilot Vision.)

Meanwhile, in the duck pond, the boat model enthusiasts have been quietly expanding their repertoire of tricks. From model battleships on park lakes to surface and underwater drones, control systems have been quietly developing into sophisticated algorithms that allow virtually independent operation or, at least, remote monitoring, control and operation. Some purveyors of smaller systems are Reygar Marine (BareFleet), MINSHIP (using DNV GL’s software) and SERTICA.

In May 2018, the senior technical body of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the Marine Safety Committee (MSC) defined a ‘Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS)’ as a ship, which to a varying degree, can operate independently of human interaction. It enlisted several non-hierarchical degrees of autonomy that a ship could have for the duration of a single voyage as:

Degree one: Ship with automated processes and decision support. Seafarers are on board to operate and control shipboard systems and functions. Some operations may be automated and at times be unsupervised, but with seafarers on board ready to take control.

Degree two: Remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location. Seafarers are available on board to take control and to operate the shipboard systems and functions.

Degree three: Remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location.

Degree four: Fully autonomous ship. The operating system of the ship is able to make decisions and determine actions by itself.

According to Wärtsilä’s Vice President, Vladimir Ponomarev “Autonomous shipping will continue to evolve over the next 15–30 years. In the future, ship traffic control will move to the shore and a standardised framework very similar to what we have in aviation today will likely be established. This level of co-ordination will be needed in maritime. Planes are almost fully controlled by auto-pilot and in this sense, they are autonomous despite the fact that they still have crew on board to balance the risks in emergency cases. We cannot fully eliminate the human factor at sea, that’s not the objective either, but I do foresee a similar future for shipping,”

Although deep-water drillships and semi-submersibles are capable of autonomous station keeping during dangerous weather, the maritime industry has not yet made the leap to full autonomy. This will most probably occur not from offshore to coastal shipping but in exactly the opposite direction.

There are already two autonomous ferries. Wärtsilä tested the 85m Folgefonn, a car ferry, in November 2108, under full autonomous operation, with no human intervention, visiting three different ports in Norway.

In December 2018, Rolls Royce demonstrated the 54m Finferries ferry Falco near Turku in Finland. This is a 1993 vessel retro-fitted with SVAN (Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation). This is part of its Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) project. They are working on an unmanned cargo ship which will be driven from the shore. Their goal is to let this ship sail in 2020. Rolls-Royce, now owned by Kongsberg, works with several maritime companies, such as Deltamarin, DNV GL, Brighthouse NAPA and Inmarsat.

Harbour tugs are clearly ripe candidates for autonomous control. Any pilot or Harbour Master that can control his tugs directly would have a tremendous advantage over traditional docking arrangements. This why Singapore’s Marine and Port Authority (MPA) is embarking on five autonomous shipping projects aimed at future-proofing operations at its busy transhipment port.

It collaborating with with PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH), M1 (a Singaporean telecommunications provider), and the classification society the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to convert an existing manned tugboat to a smart autonomous vessel.

It is co-funding another project with Wärtsilä, pilotage services provider PSA Marine and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore to develop of a smart tug – IntelliTug. PSA Marine tug operations perform over 90,000 towage jobs a year and are an important lifeline for Singapore.

Keppel Singmarine, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, has secured a grant of Singaporean $2m ($1.5m US) to develop of an autonomous tug to be operated by Keppel Smit Towage. It involves retrofitting a 65-tonne tug with advanced systems such as position manoeuvring, digital pilot vision, collision detection ad avoidance. There will be an onshore command centre to remotely control the tug using the 4.5G network set up by M1. Interestingly it involves the development of a digital twin of the tug to simulate vessel behaviour in various scenarios and optimise vessel operations.

It is co-funding an autonomous flotsam clearing vessel.

By far the most ambitious project involves an ocean-going car carrier operated by Mitsui. This project calls on ST Engineering, a Singapore-listed yard operating conglomerate, to develop and install perception and navigation modules on board the Singapore-flagged vessel which is capable of ferrying 8,000 cars. Lloyd’s Register will lend its expertise on assurance, certification and regulation as well as approval of systems for the application of autonomous shipping technology on the vessel. The project will see the carrier navigate routes through the busiest waterways and shipping lanes, including the Suez Canal, Panama Canal, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Mitsui have already demonstrated virtual auto-berthing and un-berthing and plan a practical demonstration this year.

In a separate development in Norway, fertilizer producer Yara and maritime technology firm Kongsberg Gruppe are working on a project to build the world’s first autonomous ship: Yara Birkeland. In 2018, the vessel was tested with a captain and a small crew with the goal to have the ship fully autonomous in 2020. Yara Birkeland will be the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, with zero emissions. With this vessel, Yara will reduce diesel-powered truck haulage by 40,000 journeys a year.

Industry experts speculate that most degrees of tug automation is 5 to 10 years away but Valour Consultancy suspects that 2 to 3 years is a more likely scenario barring severe recessions or war. Integrated Automation Systems (IAS) are almost upon us and the increasing availability of world-wide 4G-5G communication is an integral part of the recipe. Communication providers such as Inmarsat and KVH are at the forefront of providing this facility. In particular, Kongsberg Digital plans to utilize KVH Watch IoT Connectivity as a Service in their digitalization product portfolio. It will feature two modes: Watch Flow, for 24/7, machine-to-machine data delivery compatible with major IoT ecosystems such as Kognifai; and Watch Intervention, for on-demand high-speed sessions for face-to-face support and remote equipment access.

For more information on Valour Consultancy’s maritime connectivity, digital applications, cybersecurity, autonomous maritime vessel and other maritime reports, please contact info@valourconsultancy.com and “Maritime Research” in the subject line.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""] Author: Steve Flood and Josh Flood For some time, the maritime and offshore industry has been dipping its toe into the potential benefit pool of remote monitoring, predictive maintenance and reliability surveillance of its remote assets. This is the result of two threads of development; one coming from deep water inshore and one going from inshore towards deep water. Almost all modern international and coastal shipping uses sophisticated engine monitoring and control systems as supplied by the engine manufacturer (normally required as any part of a performance guarantee). [/fusion_text][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""] Below is a list of major marine engine manufacturers and their control systems. These are not in any particular order and there are several more producing smaller engines. The reason these are mentioned is that the age of the “Smart Ship” has been creeping towards us for several decades. Various pieces of a ship’s operation have been under stand-alone microprocessor control and monitoring for some time – the engine, fire suppression, air-conditioning and, even to a certain extent, navigation and bridge control. Largely, as a result of the needs of the deep-water offshore oil exploration vessels that work in waters of such depths that anchorage is not possible, these independent systems have been brought together as suites of allied programmes or applications that report to a supervisory program which controls their performance and the vessel behaviour according to parameters given it and reports any malfunctions or warnings to the marine and engineering crew. These have developed sufficiently that when danger threatens, such as a major hurricane, the crews are taken ashore and the deep-water vessels are left under autonomic control. The big names here are Kongsberg, GE Power Conversion (previously Converteam), Siemens, Wärtsilä and ABB (Ability Marine Pilot Vision.) Meanwhile, in the duck pond, the boat model enthusiasts have been quietly expanding their repertoire of tricks. From model battleships on park lakes to surface and underwater drones, control systems have been quietly developing into sophisticated algorithms that allow virtually independent operation or, at least, remote monitoring, control and operation. Some purveyors of smaller systems are Reygar Marine (BareFleet), MINSHIP (using DNV GL’s software) and SERTICA. In May 2018, the senior technical body of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the Marine Safety Committee (MSC) defined a ‘Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS)’ as a ship, which to a varying degree, can operate independently of human interaction. It enlisted several non-hierarchical degrees of autonomy that a ship could have for the duration of a single voyage as: Degree one: Ship with automated processes and decision support. Seafarers are on board to operate and control shipboard systems and functions. Some operations may be automated and at times be unsupervised, but with seafarers on board ready to take control. Degree two: Remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location. Seafarers are available on board to take control and to operate the shipboard systems and functions. Degree three: Remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location. Degree four: Fully autonomous ship. The operating system of the ship is able to make decisions and determine actions by itself. According to Wärtsilä’s Vice President, Vladimir Ponomarev “Autonomous shipping will continue to evolve over the next 15–30 years. In the future, ship traffic control will move to the shore and a standardised framework very similar to what we have in aviation today will likely be established. This level of co-ordination will be needed in maritime. Planes are almost fully controlled by auto-pilot and in this sense, they are autonomous despite the fact that they still have crew on board to balance the risks in emergency cases. We cannot fully eliminate the human factor at sea, that’s not the objective either, but I do foresee a similar future for shipping,” Although deep-water drillships and semi-submersibles are capable of autonomous station keeping during dangerous weather, the maritime industry has not yet made the leap to full autonomy. This will most probably occur not from offshore to coastal shipping but in exactly the opposite direction. There are already two autonomous ferries. Wärtsilä tested the 85m Folgefonn, a car ferry, in November 2108, under full autonomous operation, with no human intervention, visiting three different ports in Norway. In December 2018, Rolls Royce demonstrated the 54m Finferries ferry Falco near Turku in Finland. This is a 1993 vessel retro-fitted with SVAN (Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation). This is part of its Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) project. They are working on an unmanned cargo ship which will be driven from the shore. Their goal is to let this ship sail in 2020. Rolls-Royce, now owned by Kongsberg, works with several maritime companies, such as Deltamarin, DNV GL, Brighthouse NAPA and Inmarsat. Harbour tugs are clearly ripe candidates for autonomous control. Any pilot or Harbour Master that can control his tugs directly would have a tremendous advantage over traditional docking arrangements. This why Singapore’s Marine and Port Authority (MPA) is embarking on five autonomous shipping projects aimed at future-proofing operations at its busy transhipment port. It collaborating with with PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH), M1 (a Singaporean telecommunications provider), and the classification society the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to convert an existing manned tugboat to a smart autonomous vessel. It is co-funding another project with Wärtsilä, pilotage services provider PSA Marine and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore to develop of a smart tug - IntelliTug. PSA Marine tug operations perform over 90,000 towage jobs a year and are an important lifeline for Singapore. Keppel Singmarine, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, has secured a grant of Singaporean $2m ($1.5m US) to develop of an autonomous tug to be operated by Keppel Smit Towage. It involves retrofitting a 65-tonne tug with advanced systems such as position manoeuvring, digital pilot vision, collision detection ad avoidance. There will be an onshore command centre to remotely control the tug using the 4.5G network set up by M1. Interestingly it involves the development of a digital twin of the tug to simulate vessel behaviour in various scenarios and optimise vessel operations. It is co-funding an autonomous flotsam clearing vessel. By far the most ambitious project involves an ocean-going car carrier operated by Mitsui. This project calls on ST Engineering, a Singapore-listed yard operating conglomerate, to develop and install perception and navigation modules on board the Singapore-flagged vessel which is capable of ferrying 8,000 cars. Lloyd’s Register will lend its expertise on assurance, certification and regulation as well as approval of systems for the application of autonomous shipping technology on the vessel. The project will see the carrier navigate routes through the busiest waterways and shipping lanes, including the Suez Canal, Panama Canal, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Mitsui have already demonstrated virtual auto-berthing and un-berthing and plan a practical demonstration this year. In a separate development in Norway, fertilizer producer Yara and maritime technology firm Kongsberg Gruppe are working on a project to build the world’s first autonomous ship: Yara Birkeland. In 2018, the vessel was tested with a captain and a small crew with the goal to have the ship fully autonomous in 2020. Yara Birkeland will be the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, with zero emissions. With this vessel, Yara will reduce diesel-powered truck haulage by 40,000 journeys a year. Industry experts speculate that most degrees of tug automation is 5 to 10 years away but Valour Consultancy suspects that 2 to 3 years is a more likely scenario barring severe recessions or war. Integrated Automation Systems (IAS) are almost upon us and the increasing availability of world-wide 4G-5G communication is an integral part of the recipe. Communication providers such as Inmarsat and KVH are at the forefront of providing this facility. In particular, Kongsberg Digital plans to utilize KVH Watch IoT Connectivity as a Service in their digitalization product portfolio. It will feature two modes: Watch Flow, for 24/7, machine-to-machine data delivery compatible with major IoT ecosystems such as Kognifai; and Watch Intervention, for on-demand high-speed sessions for face-to-face support and remote equipment access. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s maritime connectivity, digital applications, cybersecurity, autonomous maritime vessel and other maritime reports, please contact info@valourconsultancy.com and “Maritime Research” in the subject line. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Speedcast Share Price Drops 40%

Speedcast International Ltd (ASX: SDA) share price fell 40% on 2nd July, wiping $340m off its value.

The market reacted to an announcement the company made earlier on Tuesday morning, in which the firm downgraded its revenue expectations for 2019. Speedcast confirmed full year earnings were expected to be in the range of $200m to $215m; down from $229m to $245m, the previous expected earnings, announced at the company’s AGM in May.

As such, Speedcast’s share price had dropped from $3.49 to $2.06 per share by the market close. As recently as August 2018, the company’s share price was as high as $6.83, before its announced planned acquisition of Globecomm.

There were three key reasons why Speedcast has downgraded its expectations for 2019:

  • Weak performance in enterprise and emerging markets, which it puts down largely to market conditions as well as a slow implementation of existing backlog.
  • Revenue delays from the second phase of their ten-year contract with National Broadband Network (NBN) as well as lower profitability due to additional resources needed during Q2 to ensure successful delivery of projects.
  • Another worrying contributing factor is a perceived market concern regarding the acquisition of Globecomm, which Speedcast completed a takeover of in December 2018. The incorporation of Globecomm’s EBITDA to Speedcast’s financials were lower than some expected. Delays in Globecomm’s government system integration projects, lower maritime revenue due to higher churn, and delays on new business have weakened the value of purchasing the American company.

Speedcast sought to stress that the difficulties experienced so far in 2019 were down to unforeseen delays and wider market factors; and not down to any structural or operational problems. The company still expect to see growth in the maritime market (approximately 5%), energy, and government segments over 2019.

The firm will hope that H2 2019 will bring better news than expected. The continued growth of the VSAT market and the potential to fully utilise Globecomm’s government contracts will give them reason to be optimistic that H2 expectations can be met.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4772|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/airport-bank-buy-534216-1200x657-1.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_text] Speedcast International Ltd (ASX: SDA) share price fell 40% on 2nd July, wiping $340m off its value. The market reacted to an announcement the company made earlier on Tuesday morning, in which the firm downgraded its revenue expectations for 2019. Speedcast confirmed full year earnings were expected to be in the range of $200m to $215m; down from $229m to $245m, the previous expected earnings, announced at the company’s AGM in May. As such, Speedcast’s share price had dropped from $3.49 to $2.06 per share by the market close. As recently as August 2018, the company’s share price was as high as $6.83, before its announced planned acquisition of Globecomm. There were three key reasons why Speedcast has downgraded its expectations for 2019:
  • Weak performance in enterprise and emerging markets, which it puts down largely to market conditions as well as a slow implementation of existing backlog.
  • Revenue delays from the second phase of their ten-year contract with National Broadband Network (NBN) as well as lower profitability due to additional resources needed during Q2 to ensure successful delivery of projects.
  • Another worrying contributing factor is a perceived market concern regarding the acquisition of Globecomm, which Speedcast completed a takeover of in December 2018. The incorporation of Globecomm’s EBITDA to Speedcast’s financials were lower than some expected. Delays in Globecomm’s government system integration projects, lower maritime revenue due to higher churn, and delays on new business have weakened the value of purchasing the American company.
Speedcast sought to stress that the difficulties experienced so far in 2019 were down to unforeseen delays and wider market factors; and not down to any structural or operational problems. The company still expect to see growth in the maritime market (approximately 5%), energy, and government segments over 2019. The firm will hope that H2 2019 will bring better news than expected. The continued growth of the VSAT market and the potential to fully utilise Globecomm’s government contracts will give them reason to be optimistic that H2 expectations can be met. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Maritime Shipping And Industry Guidelines Against Cyber-Insecurity

In a recent article, Maritime Digitalization and Communications – a magazine that publishes industry-wide news concerning maritime – presented a brief outline of major technologies that would transform the industry in 2019.

From significant increases in IoT technology to AI-based predictive positioning systems, the article suggested that maritime communications will not only improve vessels’ core operations, but also other key features will be modernised, such as vessel navigation systems, internal and external communications (broadband and satellite communications), ship monitoring systems, and, of course, the adoption of greater cybersecurity measures.

The latter feature, though, describes improvements in an area where many ship owners have demonstrated lack of industry initiative towards security and safety. This lack of progress and consensus has opened doors for organised criminal intrusions that have targeted maritime companies, particularly the commercial container shipping sector. The industry has fallen victim to several digital attacks over the past few years. These continuous online attacks, either directly or indirectly, have exposed a sense of vulnerability to cyberattacks within the industry that has not, in some cases, been rectified yet.

The unexpected cyber-attack that took the leading shipping behemoth by surprise

The well-known industry example often cited is the cyberattack on A.P. Moller Maersk which shook the company to its core, resulting in business and financial accounting disruptions which reportedly amounted to over $300 million in damages. Despite rapidly responding to the attack by tracking, identifying and removing malware from affected systems, the Copenhagen-based company exposed industry vulnerabilities in its IT infrastructure which could well have been prevented if industry-wide cybersecurity standards were in place.

As cybercriminals target vulnerabilities rooted in IT infrastructure and other aspects directly linked to chief characteristics of the maritime industry. These characteristics can increase the threat of malicious intrusions and are classified as follows:

  • Shipping companies typically share access to key backend systems with multiple users which have their own IT infrastructure system and cybersecurity approaches/standards.
  • Cybersecurity on vessels represents an issue since companies cannot control the IT structure of vessels chartered for a shorter period of time.
  • Some shipping companies have a specialised IT department located at headquarters, whereas remote operations rely on technical crew with limited IT knowledge.
  • Crew communications problems, mostly when employees perform in deep-sea waters, emphasizing a higher exposure to social engineering intrusions.
  • As for the movement of cargo, vessels moving through the vast ocean interact with different entities whose IT infrastructures and cybersecurity standards are not congruent to the practices implemented at headquarters.

Any possible weakness represents an opportunity for unscrupulous actors to illicitly access modern Information Communication Technology Systems (ICT) in an attempt to cause disruptions for multiple reasons, which could include: unethical competition, espionage, blackmail, or in certain cases, terrorism.

As such, why has the maritime shipping industry NOT developed and implemented any cybersecurity policies considering the current vulnerabilities owing to digital growth of systems onboard vessels and their connectivity to wireless networks around the world?

Voluntary and mandatory industry-specific guidelines

In spite of lower cybersecurity awareness, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) had voluntarily presented in 2014 an industry-generic guideline which urged companies to follow a systematic approach to leverage cybersecurity measures based on 5 key functions: identification, protection, detection, response, and recovery. Whilst these functions shepherd cybersecurity specialists through a remarkable phase of recognition, analysis, and assessments against cyberattacks; shipping companies still require an additional ingredient for adopting such principles to the specific managerial demands and technical complexities embedded in maritime.

By extrapolating from the above-mention principles, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has recently presented their own maritime-specific cyber-risk management strategy, also known as “Interim guidelines on maritime cyber-risk management”. The guideline ratifies the same practices developed by NIST, yet with a significant emphasis on involving senior management of the participating companies. Their goal is to educate shipping companies and other close actors about the importance of top-level cohesion to ensure that protection, contingency, and response planning are poised in relation to the threats, vulnerabilities, risk exposure, and potential consequences of cyberattacks.

IMO’s most relevant contribution to cybersecurity is also associated with their long-term plans after the catastrophic cyberattack that destabilised the Danish firm. The assembly has announced that they are now working on a set of mandatory guidelines which will come into effect on January, 1st 2021. Unfortunately, the IMO is not expecting shipping companies to abide by the new norms upon publication, which will delay the implementation of these guidelines further. It should also be mentioned that the possible legislation of these procedures will also take even greater time.

On a positive note, and in consideration to other companies that also fell victim to cyber intrusions (for instance: COSCO Shipping Lines and IRISL in 2018 and 2011 respectively), key international associations and institutions have joined forces to publish voluntary guidelines and awareness-rising collaterals to encourage maritime companies to integrate cybersecurity into physical security top-level strategies.

Influential actors including; BIMCO, Intercargo, OCIMF, the World Shipping Council and other maritime-related participants are committed to practical, security-conscious approaches to deter virtual criminals from weakening the industry while allowing IMO to materialize their mandatory guidelines. Their main purpose is to help companies understand the pillars of risk assessment and safety management systems to shun future cyber threats.

As for industry awareness, these guidelines will help generate greater interest, particularly for key stakeholders in the industry, that help evolve and modernise IT security strategies to augment security measures and encourage collaboration between companies. Through the management of campaigns, these institutions are planning to target a higher number of maritime organizations, customers, partners, insurance companies, and, more importantly, national governments.

Thus, under these circumstances, the final question is: will this holistic project be able to bring governments onboard as a contrivance to fast-track IMO’s cybersecurity guidelines and strengthen collaborations?

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4813|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/maersk-min-1024x576-1.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="#ffffff" top_margin="20" bottom_margin="20" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text] In a recent article, Maritime Digitalization and Communications - a magazine that publishes industry-wide news concerning maritime - presented a brief outline of major technologies that would transform the industry in 2019. From significant increases in IoT technology to AI-based predictive positioning systems, the article suggested that maritime communications will not only improve vessels’ core operations, but also other key features will be modernised, such as vessel navigation systems, internal and external communications (broadband and satellite communications), ship monitoring systems, and, of course, the adoption of greater cybersecurity measures. The latter feature, though, describes improvements in an area where many ship owners have demonstrated lack of industry initiative towards security and safety. This lack of progress and consensus has opened doors for organised criminal intrusions that have targeted maritime companies, particularly the commercial container shipping sector. The industry has fallen victim to several digital attacks over the past few years. These continuous online attacks, either directly or indirectly, have exposed a sense of vulnerability to cyberattacks within the industry that has not, in some cases, been rectified yet. The unexpected cyber-attack that took the leading shipping behemoth by surprise The well-known industry example often cited is the cyberattack on A.P. Moller Maersk which shook the company to its core, resulting in business and financial accounting disruptions which reportedly amounted to over $300 million in damages. Despite rapidly responding to the attack by tracking, identifying and removing malware from affected systems, the Copenhagen-based company exposed industry vulnerabilities in its IT infrastructure which could well have been prevented if industry-wide cybersecurity standards were in place. As cybercriminals target vulnerabilities rooted in IT infrastructure and other aspects directly linked to chief characteristics of the maritime industry. These characteristics can increase the threat of malicious intrusions and are classified as follows:
  • Shipping companies typically share access to key backend systems with multiple users which have their own IT infrastructure system and cybersecurity approaches/standards.
  • Cybersecurity on vessels represents an issue since companies cannot control the IT structure of vessels chartered for a shorter period of time.
  • Some shipping companies have a specialised IT department located at headquarters, whereas remote operations rely on technical crew with limited IT knowledge.
  • Crew communications problems, mostly when employees perform in deep-sea waters, emphasizing a higher exposure to social engineering intrusions.
  • As for the movement of cargo, vessels moving through the vast ocean interact with different entities whose IT infrastructures and cybersecurity standards are not congruent to the practices implemented at headquarters.
Any possible weakness represents an opportunity for unscrupulous actors to illicitly access modern Information Communication Technology Systems (ICT) in an attempt to cause disruptions for multiple reasons, which could include: unethical competition, espionage, blackmail, or in certain cases, terrorism. As such, why has the maritime shipping industry NOT developed and implemented any cybersecurity policies considering the current vulnerabilities owing to digital growth of systems onboard vessels and their connectivity to wireless networks around the world? Voluntary and mandatory industry-specific guidelines In spite of lower cybersecurity awareness, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) had voluntarily presented in 2014 an industry-generic guideline which urged companies to follow a systematic approach to leverage cybersecurity measures based on 5 key functions: identification, protection, detection, response, and recovery. Whilst these functions shepherd cybersecurity specialists through a remarkable phase of recognition, analysis, and assessments against cyberattacks; shipping companies still require an additional ingredient for adopting such principles to the specific managerial demands and technical complexities embedded in maritime. By extrapolating from the above-mention principles, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has recently presented their own maritime-specific cyber-risk management strategy, also known as “Interim guidelines on maritime cyber-risk management”. The guideline ratifies the same practices developed by NIST, yet with a significant emphasis on involving senior management of the participating companies. Their goal is to educate shipping companies and other close actors about the importance of top-level cohesion to ensure that protection, contingency, and response planning are poised in relation to the threats, vulnerabilities, risk exposure, and potential consequences of cyberattacks. IMO’s most relevant contribution to cybersecurity is also associated with their long-term plans after the catastrophic cyberattack that destabilised the Danish firm. The assembly has announced that they are now working on a set of mandatory guidelines which will come into effect on January, 1st 2021. Unfortunately, the IMO is not expecting shipping companies to abide by the new norms upon publication, which will delay the implementation of these guidelines further. It should also be mentioned that the possible legislation of these procedures will also take even greater time. On a positive note, and in consideration to other companies that also fell victim to cyber intrusions (for instance: COSCO Shipping Lines and IRISL in 2018 and 2011 respectively), key international associations and institutions have joined forces to publish voluntary guidelines and awareness-rising collaterals to encourage maritime companies to integrate cybersecurity into physical security top-level strategies. Influential actors including; BIMCO, Intercargo, OCIMF, the World Shipping Council and other maritime-related participants are committed to practical, security-conscious approaches to deter virtual criminals from weakening the industry while allowing IMO to materialize their mandatory guidelines. Their main purpose is to help companies understand the pillars of risk assessment and safety management systems to shun future cyber threats. As for industry awareness, these guidelines will help generate greater interest, particularly for key stakeholders in the industry, that help evolve and modernise IT security strategies to augment security measures and encourage collaboration between companies. Through the management of campaigns, these institutions are planning to target a higher number of maritime organizations, customers, partners, insurance companies, and, more importantly, national governments. Thus, under these circumstances, the final question is: will this holistic project be able to bring governments onboard as a contrivance to fast-track IMO’s cybersecurity guidelines and strengthen collaborations? [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Satellites-U-Like

On 7th of March 2019, Inmarsat PLC announced its unaudited financial results for the year ended 31 December 2018, resulting in its share price rising from £399 to £453 over a four-day period post announcement, equating to 13.5 per cent increased, on the perception of this “excellent” performance. Inmarsat has exceeded expectations in both revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Following the doomed attempt by EchoStar to take over Inmarsat last year, this has signalled more activities of takeovers and APAX Partners, a notable French investment firm that owns Marlink, proposed a $3.3 billion bid for the British GEO satellite company. Investors should prepare for a pleasant ride in the near future.

Over the past decade, Inmarsat has acquired five satellite communications equipment and service providers (Segovia, Stratos Global, Globe Wireless, TC Communications and Ship Equip) to materialise its vertical integration strategy. This strategy of providing an end-to-end service can provide benefits of scale, lower prices, offer some flexibility in discontinuing non-profitable equipment and thus gain a competitive advantage. But the drawbacks can also become difficult to deal with. These include excess assets and redundancy of supply, some restrictions of flexibility should any new game-changing companies make significant inroads into the market and could potentially result in Inmarsat losing focus. Installing satellite antennas on a freighter is vastly different from operating 6 tonne satellites 36,000 km above dear old Terra.

Satellite communication itself is a game-changer and has spawned what seems like a never-ending stream of baby game-changers. In Inmarsat’s webcast presentation of their results, phrases like “steady-state” and “assuming external market environment remains the same” cropped up. This is not going to happen, as I’m sure Inmarsat’s CEO and CFO know. There are over 540 satellites in geosynchronous orbit so there is quite a bit of competition at that level but it is LEO (Low Earth Orbit or less than 1,000 km orbital height) constellations of mini-, micro- and nano-satellites that can potentially create perturbations in the market environment. Typically, an operator will launch up to 80 small satellites each weighing less than 1,000kg, each of which will track a path around the earth every 100 minutes or so. These satellites are almost mass produced and they are able to put up to 7 satellites in orbit at every launch.

It can be argued that these are not direct competitors to Inmarsat because of the difference in data transmission speeds and capacity. This may be a partial truth but the majority of users of larger capacity satellites can utilise lower transmission speeds and capacity for the greater part of their data transmission needs.

The IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) covers a large spectrum of users and relatively few require constant streaming bandwidth. Those that do also need security such as offered by blockchain. Blockchain is a massively power-hungry application; estimated in 2017 as using more power than the Republic of Ireland. This, of necessity, leads to the conclusion that only vital data needs immediate high transmission speeds and capacity. In fact, a paper given by Dr Anders Andrae of Huawei in October 2017 implies that such management of data may be necessary to forestall the information and communication technology industry becoming one of the world’s largest consumers of electricity (20% of total electricity consumed) by 2025.

For marine and avionic connectivity, the coverage is a very significant factor. Inmarsat is not 100% global as there are gaps in coverage over the poles which makes vessels using the newly opened northern passage through the (now) ice-free Arctic Sea and aircraft taking polar routes vulnerable to temporary disconnection. Typically, LEO constellations are 100% global. Both systems require clear line of sight to any one of the satellites. If the view of the satellite is obscured or otherwise unavailable then there will be no signal. Because Inmarsat’s satellites are in a fixed position and there is no line-of-sight to the satellite then there can be no connection. The user has to move to a different location for a clear line-of-sight to the satellite. With an LEO constellation, another satellite will be along very shortly to pick up the data-stream. With LEO constellations, the satellites move to the user; with Inmarsat the user must move to the satellites. However the movement of LEO constellations leads to variability of signal strength.

Obviously LEO constellations are a major intruder on Inmarsat’s profit-space. There are a quite a few companies rushing to intrude. Iridium is the first major player but Elon Musk’s Starlink, Hiber’s nano-constellation, Telesat Canada and Oneweb plan to join it. Globalstar and Orbcomm are also regional players.

Other game changers include Isotropic Systems whom signed a contract with Inmarsat to deliver miniaturised antennae and terminals, based on optical beam-forming technology, which can help introduce an age of ubiquitous satellite connectivity. Interestingly, there is a company called Audacy Space whose aim is to create the first commercial inter-satellite data relay system with global coverage. Some operators could be forced to erase valuable data due to limited downlink capacity. The “internet in space”, envisioned by Audacy, would allow operators to maximise capacity. The system would provide real-time connection between satellites and ground-based infrastructure.

Should Inmarsat and an LEO constellation operator synergise, then the potential for IIoT data transfer increases greatly.

The main contributors to Inmarsat’s revenue are its maritime, government and aviation segments. Its central services and enterprise business only contributed 18 per cent of total revenues.

Although Inmarsat remains bullish about maritime, as well they might, given the number of cruise ship new-builds (24 ships this year and 23 next year amounting to nearly 100,000 passengers). This point was subtly eluded to in its presentation roadmap, “Drive into new non-merchant VSAT segments”.

The maritime division’s biggest failing has been the lack of migration if its Fleetbroadband (FB) vessel customer base to its VSAT services. It managed to achieve a migration of 42 per cent of FB vessels rather its likely target of +70 per cent. As of the end of 2018, only 32,355 vessels subscribed to its FB services. Protecting and controlling these existing L-band customers will be vitally important. For its other maritime products, both Fleet One and equipment revenues achieved positive comparisons to 2017, however, its legacy business dropped more than $12 million resulting in an overall a drop of $4 million from 2017 to 2018, $93.7 million and $89.8 million, respectively.

Its government revenue was driven mostly by US military contracts which is roughly expected to increase year-on-year by 7 per cent through to 2027. Avionics revenue was bolstered significantly by In-Flight Connectivity product JetConneX increasing fivefold and overall core aviation business was up $22 million from 2017, almost reaching $155 million in 2018. The number of connected aircraft grew from 165 in 2017 to 428 in 2018. This growth is expected to continue but is very sensitive to ticketing prices and margin-squeezing in airlines’ turn-over. Typically, Airbus and Boeing will deliver 1000 aircraft a year between them, almost all will be passenger aircraft so the future looks bright for JetConneX.

IIoT is the great unknown. Valour Consultancy has a positive outlook on this and expects over the next decade that this sector will gradually supersede all others. Valour plans to produce a new syndicated report on maritime IoT trends and the connected digital ship outlining fundamental trends on what is and will be taking place in the next decade.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4851|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="center" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/InmarsatLogo_Inmarsat4X3-879x485-2.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="default" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="#ffffff" top_margin="20" bottom_margin="20" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]On 7th of March 2019, Inmarsat PLC announced its unaudited financial results for the year ended 31 December 2018, resulting in its share price rising from £399 to £453 over a four-day period post announcement, equating to 13.5 per cent increased, on the perception of this “excellent” performance. Inmarsat has exceeded expectations in both revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Following the doomed attempt by EchoStar to take over Inmarsat last year, this has signalled more activities of takeovers and APAX Partners, a notable French investment firm that owns Marlink, proposed a $3.3 billion bid for the British GEO satellite company. Investors should prepare for a pleasant ride in the near future. Over the past decade, Inmarsat has acquired five satellite communications equipment and service providers (Segovia, Stratos Global, Globe Wireless, TC Communications and Ship Equip) to materialise its vertical integration strategy. This strategy of providing an end-to-end service can provide benefits of scale, lower prices, offer some flexibility in discontinuing non-profitable equipment and thus gain a competitive advantage. But the drawbacks can also become difficult to deal with. These include excess assets and redundancy of supply, some restrictions of flexibility should any new game-changing companies make significant inroads into the market and could potentially result in Inmarsat losing focus. Installing satellite antennas on a freighter is vastly different from operating 6 tonne satellites 36,000 km above dear old Terra. Satellite communication itself is a game-changer and has spawned what seems like a never-ending stream of baby game-changers. In Inmarsat’s webcast presentation of their results, phrases like “steady-state” and “assuming external market environment remains the same” cropped up. This is not going to happen, as I’m sure Inmarsat’s CEO and CFO know. There are over 540 satellites in geosynchronous orbit so there is quite a bit of competition at that level but it is LEO (Low Earth Orbit or less than 1,000 km orbital height) constellations of mini-, micro- and nano-satellites that can potentially create perturbations in the market environment. Typically, an operator will launch up to 80 small satellites each weighing less than 1,000kg, each of which will track a path around the earth every 100 minutes or so. These satellites are almost mass produced and they are able to put up to 7 satellites in orbit at every launch. It can be argued that these are not direct competitors to Inmarsat because of the difference in data transmission speeds and capacity. This may be a partial truth but the majority of users of larger capacity satellites can utilise lower transmission speeds and capacity for the greater part of their data transmission needs. The IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) covers a large spectrum of users and relatively few require constant streaming bandwidth. Those that do also need security such as offered by blockchain. Blockchain is a massively power-hungry application; estimated in 2017 as using more power than the Republic of Ireland. This, of necessity, leads to the conclusion that only vital data needs immediate high transmission speeds and capacity. In fact, a paper given by Dr Anders Andrae of Huawei in October 2017 implies that such management of data may be necessary to forestall the information and communication technology industry becoming one of the world’s largest consumers of electricity (20% of total electricity consumed) by 2025. For marine and avionic connectivity, the coverage is a very significant factor. Inmarsat is not 100% global as there are gaps in coverage over the poles which makes vessels using the newly opened northern passage through the (now) ice-free Arctic Sea and aircraft taking polar routes vulnerable to temporary disconnection. Typically, LEO constellations are 100% global. Both systems require clear line of sight to any one of the satellites. If the view of the satellite is obscured or otherwise unavailable then there will be no signal. Because Inmarsat's satellites are in a fixed position and there is no line-of-sight to the satellite then there can be no connection. The user has to move to a different location for a clear line-of-sight to the satellite. With an LEO constellation, another satellite will be along very shortly to pick up the data-stream. With LEO constellations, the satellites move to the user; with Inmarsat the user must move to the satellites. However the movement of LEO constellations leads to variability of signal strength. Obviously LEO constellations are a major intruder on Inmarsat’s profit-space. There are a quite a few companies rushing to intrude. Iridium is the first major player but Elon Musk’s Starlink, Hiber’s nano-constellation, Telesat Canada and Oneweb plan to join it. Globalstar and Orbcomm are also regional players. Other game changers include Isotropic Systems whom signed a contract with Inmarsat to deliver miniaturised antennae and terminals, based on optical beam-forming technology, which can help introduce an age of ubiquitous satellite connectivity. Interestingly, there is a company called Audacy Space whose aim is to create the first commercial inter-satellite data relay system with global coverage. Some operators could be forced to erase valuable data due to limited downlink capacity. The “internet in space”, envisioned by Audacy, would allow operators to maximise capacity. The system would provide real-time connection between satellites and ground-based infrastructure. Should Inmarsat and an LEO constellation operator synergise, then the potential for IIoT data transfer increases greatly. The main contributors to Inmarsat’s revenue are its maritime, government and aviation segments. Its central services and enterprise business only contributed 18 per cent of total revenues. Although Inmarsat remains bullish about maritime, as well they might, given the number of cruise ship new-builds (24 ships this year and 23 next year amounting to nearly 100,000 passengers). This point was subtly eluded to in its presentation roadmap, “Drive into new non-merchant VSAT segments”. The maritime division's biggest failing has been the lack of migration if its Fleetbroadband (FB) vessel customer base to its VSAT services. It managed to achieve a migration of 42 per cent of FB vessels rather its likely target of +70 per cent. As of the end of 2018, only 32,355 vessels subscribed to its FB services. Protecting and controlling these existing L-band customers will be vitally important. For its other maritime products, both Fleet One and equipment revenues achieved positive comparisons to 2017, however, its legacy business dropped more than $12 million resulting in an overall a drop of $4 million from 2017 to 2018, $93.7 million and $89.8 million, respectively. Its government revenue was driven mostly by US military contracts which is roughly expected to increase year-on-year by 7 per cent through to 2027. Avionics revenue was bolstered significantly by In-Flight Connectivity product JetConneX increasing fivefold and overall core aviation business was up $22 million from 2017, almost reaching $155 million in 2018. The number of connected aircraft grew from 165 in 2017 to 428 in 2018. This growth is expected to continue but is very sensitive to ticketing prices and margin-squeezing in airlines’ turn-over. Typically, Airbus and Boeing will deliver 1000 aircraft a year between them, almost all will be passenger aircraft so the future looks bright for JetConneX. IIoT is the great unknown. Valour Consultancy has a positive outlook on this and expects over the next decade that this sector will gradually supersede all others. Valour plans to produce a new syndicated report on maritime IoT trends and the connected digital ship outlining fundamental trends on what is and will be taking place in the next decade.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Dr Jekyll and Methane Hydrate

Foreshadowing Valour Consultancy’s report entitled “A Deep Dive Insight into Maritime Energy”, this is a snapshot of a lesser publicised source of energy that is about to be exploited.

The largest reservoir of untapped hydrocarbon energy in the world is not in some Sheikh’s back garden or under the control of a democratically elected despot. It is methane trapped in permafrost, lake beds and in continental shelves. A latest survey by the USCG (a science agency for the Department of the Interior, within the United States of America’s government) estimates that the minimum is more than 4000 times the amount of natural gas consumed in the United States of America in 2010, or somewhere between 105 and 5×106 Trillion Cubic Feet (or 140,000 Trillion Cubic Metres), in layman terms.

As yet, this reservoir is virtually untapped, presently in the form of Methane Clathrate which is basically, a molecule of methane (CH4), trapped inside a cage of water crystal. I might use the word “ice” but it isn’t exactly the ice we are familiar with. Water takes a rather bohemian approach to crystallisation and adapts itself according to the temperature, pressure and the presence of other associative gases in which it forms. There are, at least, 13 different types of ice crystals. The one we lovingly drop into our whisky glass occurs at 0°C and atmospheric pressure but the one we are interested in forms at high pressure (40 bar) or higher and low temperature -2°C. We find just these requirements at 460m and below the surface of the ocean on continental shelves. The water molecules form a little cage and capture a methane molecule in the centre – other molecules such as propane and carbon dioxide could also captured.

These little cages tend to stick together and form lumps or bergs and are troublesome in gas pipelines as they plug them up. It has been postulated that such a plug contributed to the problems trying to seal the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

Map of potential hydrate recovered and inferred sites

(Source: the USGS)

These clathrates are ubiquitous so why have they not already been exploited?

Primarily because it has been very difficult to do so. Now, several countries already have significant programs underway. Those without significant native reserves of hydrocarbons, such as China, Japan, Korea and India lead the way (with input from the United States of America).

The below timeline illustrates the past drilling activities conducted by countries, private sector firms, government agencies, and academe that have helped to refine global gas hydrate estimates and possible future drilling and production testin

(Source: the USGS)

Interestingly, the last two pictures might give some indication of why there are conflicting claims of territorial authority off the shore of China and the countries neighbouring the South China Sea, and between Japan and Korea.

Ignoring the economic, moral and technical problems of methane recovery, we shall look at the pros and cons, the dangers if we do and the dangers if we don’t.

Methane is a good energy source. When burnt, the exhaust is mostly CO2 and water, with many less additional side products than any other combustion processes. Given that methane is 21 times as powerful greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide, then it follows that it is better to burn it than let it out into the atmosphere. Space X, the venture owned by Elon Musk, is experimenting with using methane as potential rocket fuel highlighting its energy-rich density.

Methane is also cheap and, if we get the technology right, it should be easy to exploit. Clathrates are relatively accessible but difficult to recover as it does not flow easily. The reclamation of the methane might be more damaging to the marine ecosystem than either fracking or oil-well drilling. Many patents for recovering methane for clathrate rich sediment involve either turning the seams into a slurry or fine particulate and taking it to the surface for separation and returning the mining waste back down into the sea bed. Many deposits are thought to occur in sediment within the top 200-400m of the seabed surface.

(Source: Types of Methane Hydrate Deposits – US Office of Fossil Energy)

While this does sound a rather heedless course of action, disrespectful in the extreme of sealife, it does present the opportunity to sequester carbon dioxide which could be mixed with waste and turned into a CO2 clathrate to replace the CH4 clathrate that was mined.

There is a hypothesis that a changing climate will exponentially increase subsea methane emission causing possible continental shelf subsea landslides with subsequent tsunamis. Others postulate that a changing climate might weaken the clathrate matrix and a trigger, such as an earthquake, will have the same effect. On the other hand, scientists suggest that methane emission is far more likely to be gradual and not result in any immediate trigger events. What is clear is that our projections on climate change and the repercussions are still in their infancy.

It should also be noted that, previously collected ice pack core samples, methane in the atmosphere has been stable for the last 800,000 years and has climbed rapidly during the last 100 years fourfold. There is no evidence to suggest that this increase is due to seepage from clathrates as many other sources of methane have increased substantially in the last 100 years such as cattle ranching and urban waste decomposition.

Methane is a very dangerous but relatively short-term greenhouse gas. It decomposes in about 12 years rather than nitrous oxide which take 114 years to decompose or thousands of years like carbon dioxide. Methane is also a food for bacteria. These bacteria, methanophiles, reside in oceans, mud, marshes, underground environments, soils, rice paddies, and landfills and comprise a significant factor in the global methane budget. It has been suggested that these bacteria consume up to 90% of methane potentially available.

Of course, where there are bacteria, there are cute little creatures that eat bacteria such as the methane worms found swarming over a methane clathrate seepage in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Alaska. These worms can survive for periods in anoxic environments (without oxygen), such as the ocean dead zones – areas where “excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors have deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water”, states the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Many documented dead zones occur off the east coast of the USA, the Gulf of Mexico and in the Baltic Sea.

(Source: Lara Cerri)

In Summary

PROS

  • Methane is an abundant supply of cheap, relatively clean fuel
  • Once the technology is sufficiently refined, it should be cheap to extract
  • The extraction process should allow the sequestration of significant amounts of carbon dioxide
  • Using the methane as fuel precludes it becoming a greenhouse gas problem.

CONS

  • Extraction is likely to be environmentally damaging to the marine seabed
  • Because methane clathrates form plugs very easily, there is significant danger of accidental release, an explosion and greater pollution
  • Territorial disputes over seabed extraction rights will doubtlessly increase
  • The extraction of methane might destroy the biosphere of a creature that can survive and prosper in a toxic environment. The creatures’ ability to adapt its special physiology, anatomy, and behaviour are the kind of qualities humanity might need for exploring and exploiting the solar system and beyond
  • While the methane hydrates stay in the seabed, there is always the hypothesised danger of a seabed slip and the release of billions of tons of methane directly into the atmosphere with the concomitant effect on global warming. Replacing the methane with carbon dioxide would not alleviate this danger and such sequestration might actually trigger that release.
  • The same seabed slips might cause mega-tsunamis. After one mega-tsunami in 6200BC, off the Norwegian coast, scientists found leftover traces of this event 80km inland along the central belt of Scotland. There is no proof that this continental shelf collapse was associated with clathrate release, however. The people of Inverness might not be too pleased with such an event repeating itself.

Note: Clathrates are sometimes referred to as hydrates. There is a difference. A clathrate implies the guest gas is trapped or caged inside the host molecule whereas a hydrate implies a chemical bond. To the best of our understanding, methane does not form a chemical bond with its host water crystal.

-
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_text] Foreshadowing Valour Consultancy’s report entitled “A Deep Dive Insight into Maritime Energy”, this is a snapshot of a lesser publicised source of energy that is about to be exploited. The largest reservoir of untapped hydrocarbon energy in the world is not in some Sheikh’s back garden or under the control of a democratically elected despot. It is methane trapped in permafrost, lake beds and in continental shelves. A latest survey by the USCG (a science agency for the Department of the Interior, within the United States of America’s government) estimates that the minimum is more than 4000 times the amount of natural gas consumed in the United States of America in 2010, or somewhere between 105 and 5x106 Trillion Cubic Feet (or 140,000 Trillion Cubic Metres), in layman terms. As yet, this reservoir is virtually untapped, presently in the form of Methane Clathrate which is basically, a molecule of methane (CH4), trapped inside a cage of water crystal. I might use the word “ice” but it isn’t exactly the ice we are familiar with. Water takes a rather bohemian approach to crystallisation and adapts itself according to the temperature, pressure and the presence of other associative gases in which it forms. There are, at least, 13 different types of ice crystals. The one we lovingly drop into our whisky glass occurs at 0°C and atmospheric pressure but the one we are interested in forms at high pressure (40 bar) or higher and low temperature -2°C. We find just these requirements at 460m and below the surface of the ocean on continental shelves. The water molecules form a little cage and capture a methane molecule in the centre – other molecules such as propane and carbon dioxide could also captured. These little cages tend to stick together and form lumps or bergs and are troublesome in gas pipelines as they plug them up. It has been postulated that such a plug contributed to the problems trying to seal the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Map of potential hydrate recovered and inferred sites

(Source: the USGS)

These clathrates are ubiquitous so why have they not already been exploited? Primarily because it has been very difficult to do so. Now, several countries already have significant programs underway. Those without significant native reserves of hydrocarbons, such as China, Japan, Korea and India lead the way (with input from the United States of America). The below timeline illustrates the past drilling activities conducted by countries, private sector firms, government agencies, and academe that have helped to refine global gas hydrate estimates and possible future drilling and production testin

(Source: the USGS)

Interestingly, the last two pictures might give some indication of why there are conflicting claims of territorial authority off the shore of China and the countries neighbouring the South China Sea, and between Japan and Korea. Ignoring the economic, moral and technical problems of methane recovery, we shall look at the pros and cons, the dangers if we do and the dangers if we don’t. Methane is a good energy source. When burnt, the exhaust is mostly CO2 and water, with many less additional side products than any other combustion processes. Given that methane is 21 times as powerful greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide, then it follows that it is better to burn it than let it out into the atmosphere. Space X, the venture owned by Elon Musk, is experimenting with using methane as potential rocket fuel highlighting its energy-rich density. Methane is also cheap and, if we get the technology right, it should be easy to exploit. Clathrates are relatively accessible but difficult to recover as it does not flow easily. The reclamation of the methane might be more damaging to the marine ecosystem than either fracking or oil-well drilling. Many patents for recovering methane for clathrate rich sediment involve either turning the seams into a slurry or fine particulate and taking it to the surface for separation and returning the mining waste back down into the sea bed. Many deposits are thought to occur in sediment within the top 200-400m of the seabed surface.

(Source: Types of Methane Hydrate Deposits - US Office of Fossil Energy)

While this does sound a rather heedless course of action, disrespectful in the extreme of sealife, it does present the opportunity to sequester carbon dioxide which could be mixed with waste and turned into a CO2 clathrate to replace the CH4 clathrate that was mined. There is a hypothesis that a changing climate will exponentially increase subsea methane emission causing possible continental shelf subsea landslides with subsequent tsunamis. Others postulate that a changing climate might weaken the clathrate matrix and a trigger, such as an earthquake, will have the same effect. On the other hand, scientists suggest that methane emission is far more likely to be gradual and not result in any immediate trigger events. What is clear is that our projections on climate change and the repercussions are still in their infancy. It should also be noted that, previously collected ice pack core samples, methane in the atmosphere has been stable for the last 800,000 years and has climbed rapidly during the last 100 years fourfold. There is no evidence to suggest that this increase is due to seepage from clathrates as many other sources of methane have increased substantially in the last 100 years such as cattle ranching and urban waste decomposition. Methane is a very dangerous but relatively short-term greenhouse gas. It decomposes in about 12 years rather than nitrous oxide which take 114 years to decompose or thousands of years like carbon dioxide. Methane is also a food for bacteria. These bacteria, methanophiles, reside in oceans, mud, marshes, underground environments, soils, rice paddies, and landfills and comprise a significant factor in the global methane budget. It has been suggested that these bacteria consume up to 90% of methane potentially available. Of course, where there are bacteria, there are cute little creatures that eat bacteria such as the methane worms found swarming over a methane clathrate seepage in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Alaska. These worms can survive for periods in anoxic environments (without oxygen), such as the ocean dead zones – areas where "excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors have deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water”, states the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Many documented dead zones occur off the east coast of the USA, the Gulf of Mexico and in the Baltic Sea.

(Source: Lara Cerri)

In Summary PROS
  • Methane is an abundant supply of cheap, relatively clean fuel
  • Once the technology is sufficiently refined, it should be cheap to extract
  • The extraction process should allow the sequestration of significant amounts of carbon dioxide
  • Using the methane as fuel precludes it becoming a greenhouse gas problem.
CONS
  • Extraction is likely to be environmentally damaging to the marine seabed
  • Because methane clathrates form plugs very easily, there is significant danger of accidental release, an explosion and greater pollution
  • Territorial disputes over seabed extraction rights will doubtlessly increase
  • The extraction of methane might destroy the biosphere of a creature that can survive and prosper in a toxic environment. The creatures’ ability to adapt its special physiology, anatomy, and behaviour are the kind of qualities humanity might need for exploring and exploiting the solar system and beyond
  • While the methane hydrates stay in the seabed, there is always the hypothesised danger of a seabed slip and the release of billions of tons of methane directly into the atmosphere with the concomitant effect on global warming. Replacing the methane with carbon dioxide would not alleviate this danger and such sequestration might actually trigger that release.
  • The same seabed slips might cause mega-tsunamis. After one mega-tsunami in 6200BC, off the Norwegian coast, scientists found leftover traces of this event 80km inland along the central belt of Scotland. There is no proof that this continental shelf collapse was associated with clathrate release, however. The people of Inverness might not be too pleased with such an event repeating itself.
Note: Clathrates are sometimes referred to as hydrates. There is a difference. A clathrate implies the guest gas is trapped or caged inside the host molecule whereas a hydrate implies a chemical bond. To the best of our understanding, methane does not form a chemical bond with its host water crystal. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Review of Onboard VSAT Connectivity on the Spirit of Tasmania

As part of Valour Consultancy’s remit to produce concise and comprehensive market research reports on the maritime connectivity market, we also like to get out of the office to test maritime connectivity systems out.

On Thursday 17th of January 2019, I crossed the Bass Strait from Melbourne to Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania. The voyage was a relatively short duration of slightly more than 9 hours. I left Port Phillip Bay at 21:45 and arrived in Devonport at 07:00 of the morning of Friday 18th of January 2019.

During the journey, I purchased the onboard Full Sailing Wi-Fi pass for $20 AUD, equating to $14.35 USD. One other option was available, an hour Wi-Fi pass for $10 AUD.

Performance of Wi-Fi Network
Time – 22:24


My first speed test, 45 minutes into my journey, showed a download speed of 9.85 Mbps, and upload speed of 0.85 Mbps. The high download speed likely reflects the relatively few passengers using the service at the time. I didn’t test out internet pass for streaming any audio or video content, however, on the vessel’s marketing material, it states “certain types of content or high bandwidth intensive usages may be limited or blocked”. It was noticeable that web pages were taking 2-3 seconds to load up, and this is most likely a reflection of the high latency of the connection, which was stated in the marketing material of the vessel’s Internet pass.

Time – 00:28

My second speed test, almost three hours into the journey, and a significant distance from port, resulted in a much lower download speed, 2.54 Mbps, and an upload speed that was slightly lower than my first test of 0.80 Mbps.
It is unlikely more passengers would have been using the vessel’s connectivity system. It is possible more vessels were using the same capacity in the same area, or the system switched to another beam with less available capacity. On closer examination of Thaicom 4’s sport beams, it looks like there is one spot beam covering the Port Phillip Bay area close to land and another covering much of the rest of the Bass Strait and Tasmania.
Overall, I was very impressed with the speed of the service and ease of use, although I did encounter a few security warnings upon initially joining the network.

Service Provider and Satellite Operator

Shortly after purchasing the Internet pass, I received an invoice from Nava System – a service platform run by Orion Satellite Systems for its maritime activities. The company is based in Perth, Western Australia and is owned 100 per cent by Thaicom.
The Thai satellite operator serves five key verticals, and its maritime service resides in its mobility portfolio. The service operates predominantly on its IPStar (Thaicom – 4 satellite) Ku-band HTS service which is regionally focussed on China, India, Japan and the South East Asian countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The satellite has a Ku-band capacity of 45 Gbps.
Overall, the satellite operator has four other satellites and serves 13 countries in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.
Please see the coverage map of Thaicom’s satellite 4 coverage service below:

Spirit of Tasmania aside, Thaicom’s other notable wins include announcing, in August 2018, Uniwise Offshore Limited, an Asian offshore support vessel operator that will use Nava on its entire fleet of more than 30 vessels. In November 2018 during in the firm’s Q3 2018 investor relations presentation, it was revealed that an additional 27 vessels were added to the Nava platform in Thailand, reaching a total of 47 vessels. Thaicom has also signed a contract with the Royal Thai Navy for an additional 12 vessels.

Equipment

Upon investigation on the top deck I caught a glimpse of two units, a large VSAT unit manufactured by SeaTel, and a Sailor L-band FBB terminal as a back-up system. It was difficult to gauge the size of the antenna due to the distance they were away from me.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_text columns="" column_min_width="" column_spacing="" rule_style="default" rule_size="" rule_color="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""] As part of Valour Consultancy’s remit to produce concise and comprehensive market research reports on the maritime connectivity market, we also like to get out of the office to test maritime connectivity systems out. On Thursday 17th of January 2019, I crossed the Bass Strait from Melbourne to Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania. The voyage was a relatively short duration of slightly more than 9 hours. I left Port Phillip Bay at 21:45 and arrived in Devonport at 07:00 of the morning of Friday 18th of January 2019. During the journey, I purchased the onboard Full Sailing Wi-Fi pass for $20 AUD, equating to $14.35 USD. One other option was available, an hour Wi-Fi pass for $10 AUD. Performance of Wi-Fi Network Time – 22:24 My first speed test, 45 minutes into my journey, showed a download speed of 9.85 Mbps, and upload speed of 0.85 Mbps. The high download speed likely reflects the relatively few passengers using the service at the time. I didn’t test out internet pass for streaming any audio or video content, however, on the vessel’s marketing material, it states “certain types of content or high bandwidth intensive usages may be limited or blocked”. It was noticeable that web pages were taking 2-3 seconds to load up, and this is most likely a reflection of the high latency of the connection, which was stated in the marketing material of the vessel’s Internet pass. Time – 00:28 My second speed test, almost three hours into the journey, and a significant distance from port, resulted in a much lower download speed, 2.54 Mbps, and an upload speed that was slightly lower than my first test of 0.80 Mbps. It is unlikely more passengers would have been using the vessel’s connectivity system. It is possible more vessels were using the same capacity in the same area, or the system switched to another beam with less available capacity. On closer examination of Thaicom 4’s sport beams, it looks like there is one spot beam covering the Port Phillip Bay area close to land and another covering much of the rest of the Bass Strait and Tasmania. Overall, I was very impressed with the speed of the service and ease of use, although I did encounter a few security warnings upon initially joining the network. Service Provider and Satellite Operator Shortly after purchasing the Internet pass, I received an invoice from Nava System – a service platform run by Orion Satellite Systems for its maritime activities. The company is based in Perth, Western Australia and is owned 100 per cent by Thaicom. The Thai satellite operator serves five key verticals, and its maritime service resides in its mobility portfolio. The service operates predominantly on its IPStar (Thaicom – 4 satellite) Ku-band HTS service which is regionally focussed on China, India, Japan and the South East Asian countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The satellite has a Ku-band capacity of 45 Gbps. Overall, the satellite operator has four other satellites and serves 13 countries in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. Please see the coverage map of Thaicom’s satellite 4 coverage service below: Spirit of Tasmania aside, Thaicom’s other notable wins include announcing, in August 2018, Uniwise Offshore Limited, an Asian offshore support vessel operator that will use Nava on its entire fleet of more than 30 vessels. In November 2018 during in the firm’s Q3 2018 investor relations presentation, it was revealed that an additional 27 vessels were added to the Nava platform in Thailand, reaching a total of 47 vessels. Thaicom has also signed a contract with the Royal Thai Navy for an additional 12 vessels. Equipment Upon investigation on the top deck I caught a glimpse of two units, a large VSAT unit manufactured by SeaTel, and a Sailor L-band FBB terminal as a back-up system. It was difficult to gauge the size of the antenna due to the distance they were away from me. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Maritime Service Provider Connectivity Rankings in 2017

In Valour Consultancy’s latest maritime connectivity report, “The Future of Maritime Connectivity – 2018 Edition”. It is estimated that, globally, there were over 262,500 active maritime satellite terminals (VSAT and L-band) by the end of 2017. This equated to a satellite connectivity retail market worth over $1.5 billion.

The number of VSAT terminals were estimated to account for just nine per cent of the global subscriber base in 2017, but associated revenues accounted for more than $1 billion, or 68 per cent of total revenues. L-band connectivity services generated $504 million in the same period.

A key question asked by many people in the industry is “How Did the Key Players Perform in 2017?”

Summary of 2017

  • Marlink made significant progress in the maritime connectivity market, winning many of the tenders it participated in. The firm was the largest supplier of retail maritime satellite services in 2017, with associated revenues of $340 million. It is believed 70 per cent of the top 50 merchant shipping companies subscribe to its services.
  • Speedcast completed the purchase of Harris Caprock in 2017 and will likely complete the acquisition of Globecomm before the end of 2018. The firm will become the second largest supplier of retail connectivity in 2018.
  • Inmarsat plays a prominent role in the maritime market and generated more than $564.7 million in the market overall – both through its wholesale and retail offerings in 2017. Valour Consultancy estimates the British satellite firm derived more than $200 million of revenues via direct channels in 2017.
  • Global Eagle continues to make steady progress in the industry, with its primary focus on passenger and leisure vessels. In July 2017, the firm introduced a new luxury brand called PRIVA, which replaces the legacy MTN brand that operated its yacht connectivity business.
  • Navarino had deployed 6,000 of its Infinity boxes (which support L-band and VSAT services) at the end of 2017, 60 per cent of which are served directly by Navarino. The firm also uses third-party maritime service providers for the remainder of its business. The firm held fifth position in the global maritime service provider market and accounted for 6 per cent of market revenues.

Deep-Dive

Marlink was the largest supplier of retail maritime satellite services in 2017, representing 22 per cent of global maritime service revenues. More than 65 per cent of the firm’s revenues were derived from VSAT connectivity services, and the remainder for L-band services; making Marlink the second largest global L-band reseller in the market in 2017.

The firm has enjoyed an enormously successful period in the merchant shipping sector, with more than 50 per cent of its business originating from this sector. Marlink caters connectivity solutions to more than 20,000 terminals. globally. In addition, the group has made several astute company acquisitions over the years, which include Telemar, Palantir, Livewire Connections and OmniAccess, all of which operate under the umbrella Marlink Group.

Inmarsat plays a dual role in the maritime market, one as a service provider serving customers directly and the other as a satellite operator, providing wholesale Ka-band and L-band capacity to service providers, as well as some Ku-band (legacy business). As a direct service provider, Inmarsat generated more than $200 million in 2017, accounting for 13 per cent of total revenues. The majority of the firm’s maritime revenues are derived from its L-band business; with its Fleetbroadband service generating slightly under $350 million in 2017. Its direct retail VSAT business generated more than $55 million in 2017. This will change significantly over the next few years as companies likes Navarino, Speedcast, Marlink and other service providers complete on their pledges to convert their existing L-band and Ku-band vessels to FX. Merchant, energy and fishing were Inmarsat’s largest applications in respective order of revenues.

The rise of Speedcast in the maritime satellite connectivity market over the last few years has been pronounced, particularly after the acquisition of Harris Caprock’s maritime business in 2017. In total, Valour Consultancy estimates Speedcast accounted for 12 per cent of maritime connectivity service revenues in 2017, representing global revenues of $186 million. Readers should note that we excluded a high portion of the firm’s revenues from the energy division due to its services to fixed platforms.

By the end of 2017, Navarino generated, globally, nearly $87 million in maritime connectivity service revenues, $37 million of which were associated with VSAT services. The service provider was actually Inmarsat’s top performing FX partner for all the quarters in 2017, surpassing Marlink and Speedcast’s FX installations. Nearly $50 million of its revenues were from L-band, primarily from Inmarsat’s Fleetbroadband offerings. The firm also provides some of Iridium’s Open Port packages, although this represented only a small number of its L-band deployments. Valour Consultancy estimates Navarino placed third in the L-band maritime connectivity service provider market in 2017, and thus represented 10 per cent of the L-band service provider market revenues.

Valour Consultancy presents the global rankings of the maritime connectivity service provider in 2017

Maritime Service Provider Connectivity Rankings in 2017

For more information about the full report, contact us here.

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[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" menu_anchor="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="center center" background_repeat="no-repeat" fade="no" background_parallax="none" parallax_speed="0.3" video_mp4="" video_webm="" video_ogv="" video_url="" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_loop="yes" video_mute="yes" overlay_color="" video_preview_image="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding_top="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" padding_right=""][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" center_content="no" last="no" min_height="" hover_type="none" link=""][fusion_imageframe image_id="4825|full" max_width="" style_type="" blur="" stylecolor="" hover_type="none" bordersize="" bordercolor="" borderradius="" align="none" lightbox="no" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" lightbox_image_id="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]http://217.199.187.200/valourconsultancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Antenna-1024x494-1.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="default" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="#ffffff" top_margin="20" bottom_margin="20" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text] In Valour Consultancy’s latest maritime connectivity report, “The Future of Maritime Connectivity – 2018 Edition”. It is estimated that, globally, there were over 262,500 active maritime satellite terminals (VSAT and L-band) by the end of 2017. This equated to a satellite connectivity retail market worth over $1.5 billion. The number of VSAT terminals were estimated to account for just nine per cent of the global subscriber base in 2017, but associated revenues accounted for more than $1 billion, or 68 per cent of total revenues. L-band connectivity services generated $504 million in the same period. A key question asked by many people in the industry is “How Did the Key Players Perform in 2017?” Summary of 2017
  • Marlink made significant progress in the maritime connectivity market, winning many of the tenders it participated in. The firm was the largest supplier of retail maritime satellite services in 2017, with associated revenues of $340 million. It is believed 70 per cent of the top 50 merchant shipping companies subscribe to its services.
  • Speedcast completed the purchase of Harris Caprock in 2017 and will likely complete the acquisition of Globecomm before the end of 2018. The firm will become the second largest supplier of retail connectivity in 2018.
  • Inmarsat plays a prominent role in the maritime market and generated more than $564.7 million in the market overall – both through its wholesale and retail offerings in 2017. Valour Consultancy estimates the British satellite firm derived more than $200 million of revenues via direct channels in 2017.
  • Global Eagle continues to make steady progress in the industry, with its primary focus on passenger and leisure vessels. In July 2017, the firm introduced a new luxury brand called PRIVA, which replaces the legacy MTN brand that operated its yacht connectivity business.
  • Navarino had deployed 6,000 of its Infinity boxes (which support L-band and VSAT services) at the end of 2017, 60 per cent of which are served directly by Navarino. The firm also uses third-party maritime service providers for the remainder of its business. The firm held fifth position in the global maritime service provider market and accounted for 6 per cent of market revenues.
Deep-Dive Marlink was the largest supplier of retail maritime satellite services in 2017, representing 22 per cent of global maritime service revenues. More than 65 per cent of the firm’s revenues were derived from VSAT connectivity services, and the remainder for L-band services; making Marlink the second largest global L-band reseller in the market in 2017. The firm has enjoyed an enormously successful period in the merchant shipping sector, with more than 50 per cent of its business originating from this sector. Marlink caters connectivity solutions to more than 20,000 terminals. globally. In addition, the group has made several astute company acquisitions over the years, which include Telemar, Palantir, Livewire Connections and OmniAccess, all of which operate under the umbrella Marlink Group. Inmarsat plays a dual role in the maritime market, one as a service provider serving customers directly and the other as a satellite operator, providing wholesale Ka-band and L-band capacity to service providers, as well as some Ku-band (legacy business). As a direct service provider, Inmarsat generated more than $200 million in 2017, accounting for 13 per cent of total revenues. The majority of the firm’s maritime revenues are derived from its L-band business; with its Fleetbroadband service generating slightly under $350 million in 2017. Its direct retail VSAT business generated more than $55 million in 2017. This will change significantly over the next few years as companies likes Navarino, Speedcast, Marlink and other service providers complete on their pledges to convert their existing L-band and Ku-band vessels to FX. Merchant, energy and fishing were Inmarsat’s largest applications in respective order of revenues. The rise of Speedcast in the maritime satellite connectivity market over the last few years has been pronounced, particularly after the acquisition of Harris Caprock’s maritime business in 2017. In total, Valour Consultancy estimates Speedcast accounted for 12 per cent of maritime connectivity service revenues in 2017, representing global revenues of $186 million. Readers should note that we excluded a high portion of the firm’s revenues from the energy division due to its services to fixed platforms. By the end of 2017, Navarino generated, globally, nearly $87 million in maritime connectivity service revenues, $37 million of which were associated with VSAT services. The service provider was actually Inmarsat’s top performing FX partner for all the quarters in 2017, surpassing Marlink and Speedcast’s FX installations. Nearly $50 million of its revenues were from L-band, primarily from Inmarsat’s Fleetbroadband offerings. The firm also provides some of Iridium’s Open Port packages, although this represented only a small number of its L-band deployments. Valour Consultancy estimates Navarino placed third in the L-band maritime connectivity service provider market in 2017, and thus represented 10 per cent of the L-band service provider market revenues. Valour Consultancy presents the global rankings of the maritime connectivity service provider in 2017 Maritime Service Provider Connectivity Rankings in 2017 For more information about the full report, contact us here. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]