Marlink, a digital solutions provider, is assisting Japanese shipping operator Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) in assessing the impact of low-Earth orbit (LEO) Internet services on business sustainability and crew wellbeing.
Under an agreement struck at the end of 2022, MOL will assess past, present, and future user experiences while exploring how internet access can contribute to the company’s crew recruitment and retention strategy.
MOL is using Starlink’s LEO solution onboard its fleet of car carriers to provide an additional layer of high-speed connectivity across its fleet.
It is reported that Marlink has combined with Sealink VSAT and L-band backup to create a next-generation hybrid network solution, controlled and monitored by Marlink’s XChange management platform.
Starlink’s LEO service forms an integral part of Marlink’s hybrid network solution, designed to provide a reliable Committed Information Rate (CIR) in combination with unparalleled Maximum Information Rate (MIR) performance.
MOL plans to study internet usage patterns at sea and identify future needs through surveys of crew members to assess the added value of LEO Internet services.
The Future Illustration Project will examine how Marlink’s unique network solution can enhance operational safety and boost information transparency for all crew members.
Ryusuke Kimura, Chief Digital Information Officer, MOL., said: “Despite the advances in ship technology and navigation, seafarers have faced persistent challenges in communication and connectivity at both their work and life.
“MOL firmly believes that ensuring reliable and efficient communication infrastructure on ships not only enhances the recruitment and retention of proficient crew members but also paves the way for seamless digital transformations that revolutionise the industry,” Kimura added.
Tore Morten Olsen, President Maritime, Marlink, stated: “The availability of high bandwidth, low latency internet access will enable the crew to access social media, entertainment services or improve the quality of video calls to keep in touch with friends and family at any private time.”
“MOL will not only benefit from a more qualified and motivated crew but will also be able to use the higher bandwidth provided to optimise digital tools and operational processes to remain compliant with shipping operations in transition to a zero-carbon economy,” Olsen ensured.