Maritime technology specialist MARIS and Orange Business Services have formalized an agreement to deliver Electronic Chart Display Information Systems (ECDIS) and maritime digital services directly to navigators via the world’s largest, fully-managed Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network.
Through the solution Current At Sea, the MARIS/Orange Business Services partnership unlocks the full potential of integrated, paperless maritime navigation and vessel operations management by basing it on the most up-to-date digital chart information available.
Orange Business Services manages a network with connectivity to more than 3,400 Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) deployed on land in 104 countries and on board vessels at sea, as well as via FleetBroadband, a maritime voice and broadband data service from Inmarsat. The Orange Business Services network connects ships at sea to a range of corporate communications solutions including enterprise-grade voice, IP Telephony, network optimization, M2M and video conferencing.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set a timetable that requires all vessels to be fitted with ECDIS by 2018, with the legislation already applying to all newly-built ships. Current At Sea, the unique combination of the Orange Business Services VSAT service with MARIS ECDIS, gives navigators an efficient way to meet this requirement before the deadline.
Launched in 2012, Current At Sea is the first and only VSAT system/dual ECDIS offering with a fixed monthly rate. Since it is a bundled, flat-rate package offered via Orange Business Services’ IP network, customers pay only a fixed monthly fee with no usage charges on voice or data. The new offering also integrates the MARIS Voyage Decision Support (VDS). The MARIS VDS pinpoints weather and current data to determine the safe, most cost/time effective voyage routes and has demonstrated fuel savings of 4%-8%.
Steinar Gundersen, Deputy Chief Executive MARIS, says: “The combination of MARIS ECDIS and Orange VSAT technology creates a powerful tool in compliance with IMO ECDIS regulatory requirements that delivers voyage optimization, greatly increased safety and major cost savings in an attractive ‘pay-per-month’ package. No capital outlay is needed and the system pays for itself through choice of faster voyage routes and lower fuel usage.”
The IMO’s ECDIS regulation mandates that vessels utilise the very latest available charts and navigational information, but does not stipulate means of delivery. Mr Gundersen says: “While delivery of ECDIS updates via CDs or USB drives to vessels in port meet IMO compliance terms, technology has moved on decisively since regulators framed the legislation. Businesses rightly consider themselves entitled to receive secure data via broadband connection.
“In line with these connectivity expectations, we can deliver critical chart updates, warnings and admiralty overlays in a matter of minutes, not weeks. Ship owners who want a competitive edge on voyage planning can also be assured that they are committing to ‘future-proof’ technology.”
The Orange Business Services MPLS-based network allows ships to bypass the public Internet when accessing corporate systems and connect using a secure, real-time connection to business-critical applications. VSAT bandwidth delivers connectivity rates between 128 kbps and 8 Mbps, scalable as required for both uplink and downlink.
“Current At Sea is about rethinking business processes to improve safety, efficiency and costs,” said Nicolas Roy, head of the Network Solutions Business Unit, Orange Business Services. “Customers benefit from a one-stop, flat-rate solution for a fully electronic navigation and communications platform that not only brings their vessels into compliance very quickly, but also offers tangible business benefits.”