Fleet Xpress lands Clearwater comms contractSeven vessels in the Clearwater Seafoods fleet are being fitted with the Fleet Xpress combination of high speed Ka-band and continuous FleetBroadband backup. Photo: Clearwater Seafoods

An agreement with leading Canadian seafood company includes crew internet access and Fleet Care support to secure fishing fleet connectivity off Canada’s east coast

Inmarsat has made a significant breakthrough in the fisheries sector, following an agreement with Clearwater Seafood that commits Canada’s largest vessel-operating seafood company to Fleet Xpress high-speed maritime broadband services.

Clearwater Seafood chose to install the Fleet Xpress combination of high speed Ka-band and continuous FleetBroadband backup on board seven vessels replacing Ku-band services on each vessel. Deployed off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, each vessel is being fitted with Inmarsat-approved, high-performance GX100NX antennas from Intellian.

“Robust connectivity for the crew is imperative for Clearwater,” said Brad MacKinnon, director of Canadian Fleet Operations, at Clearwater Seafoods.

“We have over 400 personnel at sea who expect stable and reliable connectivity in challenging North Atlantic conditions, given that they can be away from home for up to 35 days at a time.”

The contract also includes Inmarsat’s fully managed Fleet Care programme for Fleet Xpress, developed to maximise equipment uptime and minimise out of pocket expenses on unplanned maintenance. Based on a fixed monthly cost, customers secure all spare parts for 36 months on purchased hardware and benefit from a lifetime warranty for rented equipment, with free of charge support from certified technicians in over 50 ports worldwide. Fleet Care also includes remote equipment health checks and allows customers to update without additional cost as new hardware develops.

“This contract represents outstanding recognition of the Fleet Xpress platform which will make waves among fishing customers along Canada’s east coast and elsewhere,” said Eric Griffin, Inmarsat Maritime’s VP Offshore & Fishing.

“Regional and global market leaders establish their positions for good reason and, in a sector quickly realising the benefits of always-on connectivity, we expect that others will be keen to learn how greater reliability and enhanced crew communications can be secured at truly competitive pricing.”

Clearwater Seafood is active off the coasts of Canada, UK and Argentina, and operates 21 vessels in total.

Fleet Xpress recently clocked up its ten thousandth vessel installation. While the majority are merchant vessels, the maritime broadband platform continues to make inroads among owners and operators in the offshore and fishing markets.

“The fact that this regional breakthrough came when Covid-19 restrictions have been in place also shows what is possible by adapting our processes as required, to deploy our technicians in the field, work with engineers remotely or – where possible – carry out installations virtually,” Eric Griffin commented.

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