Photo courtesy Inmarsat

Inmarsat Upgrades Tidewater Fleet with High-Speed Fleet Xpress Internet Service

Mike Schuler
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January 28, 2021

Privately-held satellite communications provider Inmarsat has upgraded the majority of the active fleet of major offshore supply vessel provider Tidewater to Inmarsat’s unlimited high-bandwidth Fleet Xpress internet service.

Tidewater was previously one of the largest users of Inmarsat’s legacy iFusion service, which was scheduled for network shutdown at the end of last year. The two companies worked out a comprehensive plan to fast track vessel installations and upgrades to deliver the project in six months, with a scope of 60 active vessels, across 15 countries and involving a team of 75 from the combined organizations.

All 60 vessels in the project were successfully transitioned before year-end and vessels experienced no disruptions during the iFusion shutdown. By month end, Tidewater will have 56 active vessels with Fleet Xpress providing new capabilities for their vessels, crews and customers.

“Tidewater has deployed this new technology to provide internet demands for crews and customers, a capability previously not available for these vessels,” said Cherise Brooks, Inmarsat’s IT program manager for the project.

The upgrades come at a crucial time as many of the world’s seafarers are working for extended periods at sea due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inmarsat back in June issued a report, titled Welfare 2.0, exploring the underlying factors affecting crew safety, welfare and learning. The report showed that while the maritime industry prides itself on seafarer safety and welfare as being a top priority, there seems to be a lack of investment in digitalized technologies that could benefit worker welfare, particularly compared to investments in other sectors.

Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service combines the high data speeds of Inmarsat’s award-winning Global Xpress Ka-band global satellite network with the proven reliability of its L-band network, providing vessels and their crews with unrivaled speed, continuous connectivity, and guaranteed global performance. The company says the fleet-wide Fleet Xpress service will help Tidewater to advance its digitalization strategy, bringing with it competitive advantages.

“The announcement of our partnership with Tidewater is further tangible proof that Inmarsat Maritime has and continues to invest in the development of its platforms to address the current and future challenges of the Offshore Energy sector,” said Eric Griffin, Vice President of Offshore Energy & Fishing at Inmarsat Maritime’s division. “Inmarsat Maritime strives to ensure that those who operate in this sector both now and in the future will have access to a reliable platform in Fleet Xpress that enables acceleration of digitalization and technology programs to improve operating costs and to ensure and provide further value to their clients and crew on board. A big thank you to Tidewater for your business and look forward to continued growth of our trusted partnership!”

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