Nearly 600 crew members working for Grieg Shipping can now surf the internet for free and call home for less, thanks to FleetBroadband and Infinity.
The Norwegian company, owner of one of the world’s largest open-hatch fleets, can offer its mariners the attractive deal after signing up for a Very Large Allowance (VLA) plan, which offers FleetBroadband connectivity for a fixed monthly fee.
Grieg Shipping turned to Inmarsat service provider Navarino when it decided to upgrade satcoms on its vessels from the older Inmarsat Fleet and Inmarsat B services.
Data-heavy usage “They were looking for a solution that would deliver crew internet and data-heavy business usage at good speed – and with no unexpected bills,” explained Navarino international account manager Christian Vakarelis.
This coincided with Inmarsat’s introduction of the VLA pack-age, and so Navarino proposed a 10GB monthly plan at a fixed price, comprising of:
- Two Thrane & Thrane FB 500 terminals with automatic switchover in case one antenna signal was blocked.
- Two voice lines
- Multiple Wi-Fi points for crew internet
- Infinity Voice – Navarino’s value-added bandwidth management and optimization solution, which allows the crews to place personal calls at the very low VLA rates
A one-vessel trial was undertaken early in 2011, which proved a success with the crew, captain and head office.
Global coverage “Grieg really liked the fact that it was an Inmarsat system – the global coverage, reliability and speed they were used to, and with no cost surprises at the end of the month,” said Christian.
“The VLAs are a real step forward and give shipping companies an option that’s never been there for them before.”
Navarino has now installed FleetBroadband on all of Grieg’s 26 open-hatch general cargo vessels serving Europe, China and the Americas.
Having FleetBroadband with Infinity enables Grieg to offer crews the option of making calls at the very lowest voice rate on the VLA plan.
Grieg Shipping’s ICT manager Oystein Sivertsen said: “The crew members are very happy with the new set-up. The crew communication options are much improved, as all onboard now are able to browse the internet, chat, send email and SMS to family and friends, even out at sea.” Broadband speeds of up to 432kbps, no matter how bad the conditions, have also streamlined vessel operations.
On-shore expertise can be easily accessed by phone, email or video conference. Grieg IT personnel at head office can log directly into the ships’ systems.
“The remote control option has opened up a new area when it comes to IT support from shore,” said Oystein.
“We have encountered no issues with the service and al-though it was a very large project it was implemented to a tight schedule in a matter of months.”