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Longliner first Bering Sea user of Inmarsat Fleet Xpress

Written by Nick Blenkey
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JULY 12, 2016 — Freezer-longliner fishing vessel operator Alaskan Leader Fisheries, Lynden, WA, has chosen Inmarsat’s new high-speed broadband maritime communications service Fleet Xpress to support its daily business operations.

Inmarsat partner Network Innovations (NI), together with Fusion Marine Technology, have signed a contract with Alaskan Leader that marks the first commissioning of Fleet Xpress in the remote and hostile waters of the Bering Sea.

Inmarsat says that Fleet Xpress delivers high levels of reliable high speed broadband connectivity and performance across all of the world’s oceans and facilitates innovative Connected Ship applications.

With Fleet Xpress, Alaskan Leader Fisheries shore based sales teams can maximize their sales potential with up to date information on catch qualities and weights, while also sharing and recording geographical catch areas for more targeted sustainable fishing methods.

Fleet Xpress is also intended to support the company’s crew welfare initiatives to provide its seafarers with a communication link to friends and family, and access to the Internet to alleviate the boredom on the long voyages at sea.

The installion, led by Fusion Marine Technology, includes a Cobham 100GX 1-meter VSAT antenna, which together with a FleetBroadband antenna and below deck unit, form the hardware needed to operate the service.

The Cobham antenna has been built to withstand the toughest weather conditions and provide stable connectivity regardless of weather and location.

“Fleet Xpress is a game changer for satellite communications at sea,” says Gerbrand Schalkwijk, Inmarsat’s Maritime Chief Sales Officer. “The new service opens up a new level of connectivity for fisheries to take advantage of real-time communication back to shore, to enhance operational performance, maximize catch potential and start selling even before they have completed their journey back to shore. We are excited that Alaskan Leader Fisheries will be using Fleet Xpress in such hostile waters and to continue to drive innovation in sustainable fishing with highly targeted fishing methods.”

“With excellent support provided by Inmarsat and NI throughout the commissioning and activation of the terminal, the Fleet Xpress service has allowed  Alaskan Leader Fisheries to maintain connection and speed even in the harshest of conditions of the Bering Sea, with antenna elevation around 8 – 13 degrees,” said David Pratt, VP Fusion Marine Technology.

“NI has built a strong partnership with Fusion Marine to provide best in class service, support and advice that meets the communications needs of the fishing market,” said Matt George, Vice President Global Maritime Sales, NI. “This partnership was key in converting Alaskan Leader Fisheries from an existing mini-VSAT, to the new standard in communications at sea with Inmarsat’s latest innovation, Fleet Xpress.”

With the success of the first vessel, Alaskan Leader Fisheries will look to install Fleet Xpress across its entire fleet of vessels.

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