Iridium Openport on Fishing Vessels
The FV Aart Maaskant (UK95) is was one of the first Dutch commercial fishing vessels to be fitted with Iridium OpenPort. Gannexion BV, an Iridium service partner, installed the Iridium high-bandwidth terminal to replace the existing satcom system on the 139 ft beam trawler, which operates in the North Sea.
Jan de Boer, the vessel’s owner and captain, said, “Iridium OpenPort is always online. It sends our e-mails faster in comparison to the satcom system we used previously, and it gives us the possibility to download the latest news to stay up to date with what is happening in the world.”
The crew is using the free e-mail service offered by Gannexion BV to send and receive messages at sea. The e-mail software also permits them to access Websites to download information on an adjustable schedule.
“The captain sets the Iridium OpenPort terminal to automatically receive the weather forecast twice a day,” said Patrick Albers, service engineer, Gannexion BV. “This way they don’t need an extra subscription with a third party who will charge them for sending the weather forecast. Iridium OpenPort will also be an ideal solution for transmission of daily catch reports to meet future e-logbook regulatory requirements.”
Samherji HF, a major Icelandic seafood company with vessels operating around the world, has installed Iridium OpenPort on two of its trawlers under a service contract with Síminn and AST. Samherji’s electronics engineer, Kristinn Danielsson, said, “Iridium OpenPort provides excellent coverage and performance even when we are fishing in Arctic waters that are not reliably served by other satellite services.”
Síminn, Iceland’s primary telecoms company, installed the systems on the Samherji vessels.
“Iridium OpenPort provides a unique value proposition for commercial fishing operators, with three independent phone circuits and a separate high-speed data port that can be provisioned for data rates from 9.6 to 128 kbps with IP-based connectivity,” said Greg Ewert, executive vice president, global distribution channels, Iridium. “All of the phone and data lines can be used simultaneously without interference. Iridium’s cross-linked, low-earth orbit satellite network provides complete global coverage, including the important Arctic and Antarctic fisheries, which are not reached by any other marine satellite service.”
Ewert noted that Iridium OpenPort has been approved in many European countries to meet the pending EU requirement for e-logbooks.
“The three separate phone lines make it possible for several crewmembers to call their families and friends at the same time during their off-duty hours without having to queue for a single satellite phone,” said Gylfi Már Jónsson, product manager at Síminn. “The Iridium OpenPort terminal is small and lightweight, and it is easy for one person to install the antenna without using a crane. There are no moving parts in the antenna, so maintenance costs are lower than other satcom systems with stabilized dish arrays.”