Connectivity boost in Northern waters

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 24 March 2020

ShipInsight


Passage through Northern shipping routes and Arctic waters has received a boost following the doubling of the connectivity speed of the Iridium Certus network, says maritime communications specialist IEC Telecom.

As the shortest sea route between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, the Northern Sea Route holds immense potential to compete with conventional trade lines. There has been a significant increase in maritime traffic across the main transport corridors in the Arctic, Northern Sea Route in the Russian Federation, the Northwest Passage in Canada as well as the Arctic Bridge from Canada to Europe. In fact in the Canadian Arctic, traffic has tripled between 1990 and 2015. Moreover, cargo volume in the Northern Sea Route has increased by 40% between 2016 and 2017.

With the Iridium Certus 700 service becoming commercially available at speeds of 700 kbps – the fastest L-band speed in the industry, Iridium’s network with pole-to-pole coverage can only serve to further unlock new opportunities for the fleets operating in the North. Fishing fleets, commercial ships, and other vessels transiting Arctic waters can benefit from enhanced connectivity in these remote and potentially hazardous waters.

Many of IEC Telecom’s clients operating in the Northern Sea region have recently switched to the Iridium Certus service. “Vessels operating in this region require robust solutions that can be relied upon under harsh weather conditions. Iridium Certus is the only global network able to meet these requirements,” explained Alf Stian Mauritz, Managing Director, IEC Telecom Norway. “With this new speed, Northern operators can share greater levels of data with their shore offices, avail VOIP calls, and access faster email exchange,” he adds.

Iridium Certus 700 will also be beneficial to the oil and gas sector, which has been expanding in the Arctic region. With 184 active rigs in 2018, the industry is increasingly focusing on innovative ways to reduce costs with sustainable practices. Satellite-based technologies are excellent drivers of operational efficiency with optimised navigation, decreased fuel consumption, and better crew welfare options.

Upgrading to Iridium Certus 700 requires no new hardware for existing users. “As an Iridium Master Distributor, not only does IEC Telecom offer its customers the expertise required to transition to this service, we also provide a completely compatible network management solution, OneGate. With our technical support services, customers get better visibility over their remote satellite assets. Such solutions can help operators in the Northern region enhance their crew welfare options, access reliable cyber security and filtration, and even customize cloud-based features,” explained Mauritz.

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