Satellite services provider KVH Industries has announced that its VSAT connectivity services continue to be used to support crew welfare and operational efficiency during the COVID-19 pandemic. KVH’s YOURlink service is enabling shipowner and operator Pacific Basin to quickly and simultaneously transmit videos to seafarers aboard its 116 bulk carrier fleet. Having purchased a plan for a year, Pacific Basin has already transmitted two time-sensitive videos, including one on the crucial topic of crew changes.
In the video, Pacific Basin’s Fleet Director Jay K Pillai discusses the efforts being made to enable seafarers to disembark their vessels for crew changes during COVID-19’s worldwide port call restrictions. The issue of seafarers being unable to leave their vessels is widespread throughout the maritime industry, with some experts calling it the most serious situation the industry has faced in decades.
Pillai said, “For Pacific Basin, the ability to send a video quickly to all our ships and seafarers simultaneously is an effective and appealing way for our company to get an important and heartfelt message out directly to our colleagues at sea.”
KVH’s YOURlink service uses patented technology to multicast proprietary media files via satellite link to vessels equipped with KVH VSAT connectivity. Because the YOURlink transmission takes place by multicast protocol over unused bandwidth, it has no impact on the vessels’ monthly data plans or onboard data speeds. YOURlink is part of a suite of value-added services that KVH provides, which include news, sports, and entertainment content delivered via satellite to enhance crew welfare, as well as the satellite delivery of weather, chart, and training content for operational efficiency.
At the core of KVH’s VSAT connectivity solutions are the TracPhone HTS series satellite antenna systems and the mini-VSAT Broadband HTS satellite network. To support crew welfare and maritime operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, KVH began offering a 50% discount on data plan upgrades in April and will continue the discount through the end of December. “We have seen hundreds of vessels opt for more bandwidth during the pandemic because communication is such a critical factor at this challenging time,” noted Mark Woodhead, KVH’s executive vice president for mobile connectivity.