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ECDIS and VSAT integrated

MARIS and Orange Business Services report that they have formalised an agreement to deliver ECDIS and maritime digital services directly to navigators via a fully-managed Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network.

Through the Current At Sea solution, the MARIS/Orange Business Services partnership aims to facilitate integrated, paperless maritime navigation and vessel operations management using a combination of the Orange Business Services VSAT service with MARIS ECDIS, to make sure ships have the most up-to-date digital chart information available.

Orange already manages a network with connectivity to more than 3,400 VSAT systems deployed on land in 104 countries and on board vessels at sea, as well as via FleetBroadband from Inmarsat.

Current At Sea was originally launched in 2012, as a package including Orange services and ECDIS by Consilium. Consilium and MARIS have since signed an agreement to cooperate on the service and installation of all MARIS products through Consilium’s network of subsidiaries and agents, and now MARIS ECDIS can be used as part of the Current At Sea package.

The companies claim that this service is the only VSAT system/dual ECDIS offering with a fixed monthly rate, where customers pay only a fixed monthly fee for access to the Orange Business Services’ IP network and incur no further usage charges on voice or data.

The new offering also integrates the MARIS Voyage Decision Support (VDS) service. MARIS VDS provides weather and current data used to optimise planning of voyage routes, with the company noting that use of the service by current customers has demonstrated fuel savings of 4-8 per cent.

“The combination of MARIS ECDIS and Orange VSAT technology creates a powerful tool in compliance with IMO ECDIS regulatory requirements that delivers voyage optimisation, greatly increased safety and major cost savings in an attractive ‘pay-per-month’ package,” said Steinar Gundersen, deputy chief executive, MARIS.

“No capital outlay is needed and the system pays for itself through choice of faster voyage routes and lower fuel usage.”

The IMO’s ECDIS regulation mandates that vessels utilise the latest available charts and navigational information, but does not stipulate means of delivery.

In this regard, Mr Gundersen notes that “while delivery of ECDIS updates via CDs or USB drives to vessels in port meet IMO compliance terms, technology has moved on decisively since regulators framed the legislation.”

“Businesses rightly consider themselves entitled to receive secure data via broadband connection,” he said.

“In line with these connectivity expectations, we can deliver critical chart updates, warnings and admiralty overlays in a matter of minutes, not weeks. Ship owners who want a competitive edge on voyage planning can also be assured that they are committing to ‘future-proof’ technology.”

The Orange Business Services MPLS-based network allows ships to bypass the public internet when accessing corporate systems and connect using a secure, real-time connection. The VSAT bandwidth delivers connectivity rates between 128 kbps and 8 Mbps, scalable as required for both uplink and downlink.

“Current At Sea is about rethinking business processes to improve safety, efficiency and costs,” said Nicolas Roy, head of the network solutions business unit at Orange Business Services.

“Customers benefit from a one-stop, flat-rate solution for a fully electronic navigation and communications platform that not only brings their vessels into compliance very quickly, but also offers tangible business benefits.”

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Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.


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