Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) has announced its decision to install Starlink satellite communication service on 233 ocean-going vessels managed by MOL Group ship management companies.
The group plans to have about 140 vessels equipped with the system by the end of fiscal year 2023.
Starlink is a satellite communication service that uses multiple small satellites deployed in low orbit to provide high-speed, low-latency connectivity.
MOL has conducted trials on several MOL-operated vessels. The trials confirmed a dramatic improvement in the communication environment, with up to a 50-fold increase in communication speed, enabling seafarers to make video calls with family members and watch videos, which were difficult in the past.
As a result, MOL has decided to proceed with a full-scale introduction of the system on its managed ocean-going vessels.
According to MOL, the shortage of seafarers in the shipping industry is becoming more serious, and as of January 2023, there will be a 10 per cent shortage of seafarers compared to the number needed around the world.
Because the general onboard communication environment causes time-lag and capacity limitations for private communication with family and friends, MOL stated that improvement of the onboard communication environment is a critical issue.
In light of this situation, MOL, along with Marlink AS, have prepared a white paper outlining the challenges of the current onboard communication environment which has received many favourable comments and reactions from those who viewed the report, MOL reported.
MOL plans to further promote the digital transformation (DX) of maritime operations by improving operational efficiency through real-time information sharing between vessels and land, and by providing full support from shore in the event of trouble onboard a vessel.
In October 2023, netTALK Maritime, a provider of marine communication intelligence solutions, formed a strategic partnership with SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet network to advance communications at-sea.