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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 

Successful trials of Inmarsat Fleet Xpress off Western Australia have persuaded global tug operator Kotug International to select the high-speed broadband solution for this area of the Asia Pacific region.

Following trials on board the 100t BP tug Roebuck Bay, the towage service company has confirmed that the Fleet Xpress combination of Ka-band, continuously backed up by FleetBroadband, has significantly enhanced both the stability of communications and available uptime.

Kotug will now phase in Fleet Xpress connectivity to cover towage services supporting Shell’s Prelude floating LNG platform via a flexible plan agreement that includes ‘Confirmed and Maximum Information Rates’ for data transfer and crew connectivity. The package incorporates a comprehensive onboard entertainment package.

Kotug Corporate IT Manager Hans Boele examined requirements and assessed feedback on the trials over a six-month period. He says that the long-term company commitment to Western Australia demands a lasting connectivity solution that is “future proof and scalable”.

“We are delighted to build on our relationship with Kotug International as an Inmarsat client of many years standing,” said Gert-Jan Panken, VP Merchant, Inmarsat Maritime. “Kotug already deploys Fleet Xpress off West Africa, and this new commitment confirms that vessels anywhere in the world and of all sizes can secure the operating efficiency and crew welfare gains available from Fleet Xpress with our global, reliable coverage.”

Kotug uses its own antennas and smart boxes on board, while its business critical decisions are supported by IT tools that manage the business from its headquarters in the Netherlands.

Panken says that another compelling driver for transition to Fleet Xpress has been that it is achievable within the existing vessel management architecture. “Our efforts to enable digitalisation in shipping engage with stakeholders at the level of their choosing, whether through Fleet Xpress, Fleet Secure cyber protection, Crew Xpress connectivity with a fully managed ‘Fleet Hotspot’, or the Application Programming Interface we enable through Fleet Data.”

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