Anglo-Eastern celebrated its 100th installation of Starlink Maritime this September, mere months after announcing its commitment to the service. (Update: Since doubled by year-end.)
Following the first installation on board MT Ardmore Explorer on March 7th and a successful trial phase that covered several other vessels of various ship types and trades, we have proceeded full steam ahead in our efforts to roll out Starlink’s maritime broadband service across our managed fleet of more than 670 vessels.
Six months into the project, on September 14th, the team tasked with closing the ship-shore divide proudly celebrated its 100th installation on board MT Ardmore Seavanguard. Such has been the pace of rolling out the broadband service that the same week saw antennae installed on board two other vessels in quick succession in the run-up to the project’s milestone installation, which has since been exceeded by a further 20+ deployments.
With more than 120 managed vessels presently equipped with Starlink Maritime, many Anglo-Eastern ship crews are now able to enjoy better and faster internet connections on a par with shore-based services, enabling a range of online pursuits, from video calls with family and friends to distance learning, online banking, movies, and broader access to the ‘outside’ world generally.
“The whole world is a part of the internet, including remote locations – only seafarers were left behind, but not anymore. Life on board has not been the same since Starlink. Homesickness is no more and seafarers can consider longer contracts, as they are now better connected with their families,” said 3/O Mehran Khan. “Thanks to Starlink for making life easier on board, and thanks to Anglo-Eastern for taking such a big step for crew welfare!”
“Starlink is revolutionary and one of the world’s best technologies!” enthused JEWK Keval Joshi. “It has helped me in many ways. I was struggling to call home as VSAT was giving trouble, but now my family is much happier. Thank you for connecting me with my close ones.”
“Eight years of working on board ships and this is the first time I’m receiving 1 GB of good connectivity with family, without broken communications, and I can also do online banking,” added A/B Bonyfas Paul. Expressing a similar sentiment was oiler Vijaykumar Tandel: “I have never experienced so much internet in my 23-year career. Thank you so much!”
Despite the immense enthusiasm for Starlink and the many opportunities it opens up for those at sea, a crew survey revealed that 91% of respondents still spend around the same amount of time online as before, allaying fears that a better online connection might detract from real ones and adversely impact onboard team cohesiveness as a result.
“On the contrary, the survey shows that beyond individual benefits, enhanced communications have significantly improved team engagement, with over 90% of respondents reporting a boost in morale and improved relationships amongst crew members,” shared Vinay Singh, group managing director of Marine HR.
Besides the benefits to crew welfare and team bonding, enhanced connectivity is also a boon to both ship and business operations, serving to transform ships into remote offices that can function as seamless extensions to shore-based operations, brining teams together no matter where they are located.
“Our QHSE teams run frequent connects with our vessels to discuss incidents and learnings. This used to be a one-on-one conversation, but we are now running combined sessions with three or four vessels over a Teams video call,” said Vikrant Malhotra, managing director of group QHSE. “It is wonderful to see crews interacting with one another, and since it is now a shared experience, we are seeing stronger ownership and collaboration on process improvements.”
Regarding the technology itself, chief information officer Torbjorn Dimblad is satisfied: “We now have Starlink-equipped vessels operating in every corner of the world and we are delighted with the service. We consistently experience internet speeds exceeding 100 Mbps everywhere that Starlink is available. Furthermore, Starlink-equipped vessels have 90% fewer connectivity-related issues, while the connection speed has made it 30% faster to resolve IT support issues.”
While the service is reliable and the antenna installation straightforward, the logistics of lining up the equipment with each ship signed up to Starlink Maritime has not always been as smooth sailing due to shipping limitations and restrictions. Despite the added complexity of devising delivery workarounds that align with port calls, the overjoyed response from our seafarers makes it all worthwhile – and that is what drives the project team onwards, with another 80 installations planned by year-end and more to follow in 2024. Onwards and upwards!