London: There’s been much discussion about crewless ships of late as technology makes an ever-greater impact on day-to-day ship operations. For Frank Coles, president of telecoms giant Inmarsat Maritime, less crew is a near certainty.
“I see the day to come,” he tells Maritime CEO, “where a shipmanager is just a network operating centre with a bank of screens with sensors and videos onboard reporting everything.”
The maritime communications business is moving very fast at the moment, Coles relates. He reckons that maritime communications will be the “enabler” for the way the whole shipping industry operates in the next five to 10 years.
In the past shipowners saw communications outlay as a “necessary evil”, Coles says. However, the downturn has forced owners and managers to become more efficient, he adds.
Maritime communications increasingly is an important facet of crew welfare, and indeed crew retention, Coles says. “Today’s generation won’t go to sea without proper connectivity,” he warns.
With this in mind, Inmarsat is launching FleetMedia next month, a tie up with US firm NT Digital, giving crew a wealth of movies and TV from across the world to watch onboard.
After that the next big launch is the delayed Fleet Express. Two more satellites should be operational early next year adding to the one already orbiting the Earth providing ships with extraordinary bandwidth. [22/09/14]