This is a maritime broadband service that combines the speed of Ka-band with continuous back up from Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband, operating on L-band.
Bourbon’s action plan BOURBONINMOTION, drawn up in response to the impact of lower oil prices, includes the Smart Shipping program. This is structured around a new vessel operational model, onshore support and a remote support center, and seeks to apply digital and connectivity tools to reduce fleet operating costs.
The program, due to be completed by 2021, envisages deployment on 133 ‘smart’ vessels.
Bourbon CEO Gaël Bodénès said: “The time has come for operational intelligence: connected vessels, use of predictive maintenance, shore-based control centers, rationalization of tasks, etc.
“Automation of onboard systems is already a reality for our seafarers and we must all innovate at speed to invent our business model and our professions of tomorrow.”
Eric Griffin, vice president Offshore Energy at Inmarsat, added: “An important aspect of Fleet Xpress is that third-party charterers could run their own Fleet Xpress services via a dedicated ‘pipe’ without interrupting the primary bandwidth being provided to an OSV.
“Customers chartering OSVs can therefore manage their own ‘smart’ vessel performance with full flexibility, using existing terminals and hardware on board.”
All vessels covered in the agreement will feature three-axis stabilized antennas from Cobham, developed for and approved by Inmarsat for the Global Xpress satellite network.
Among the first of Bourbon’s fleet to adopt Fleet Xpress will be various ‘high-end’ subsea vessels which are said to have data consumption and management needs are ready for IoT-based solutions.
The vessels also feature dual satellite terminals with high-powered amplifiers for additional redundancy.
The service will provide them with bandwidth, stability and reliability capabilities that will initially increase use of video conferencing. Real-time video feeds should also be featured in ROV operations.