South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Inmarsat to receive the connectivity capability required for its ‘smart ship’ initiative.

The MoU will see SHI incorporate Inmarsat’s satellite-based Fleet Xpress connectivity platform in its newbuildings during the construction stage.

The deal is subject to a definitive agreement, and will allow SHI to retain remote connections to vessels and Inmarsat supporting SHI’s services via a dedicated bandwidth under a Certified Application Provider subscription.

Samsung Heavy Industries & Construction Central Research Institute director Dr Booki Kim said: “Samsung Heavy Industries Co. considers itself to be a technology leader, which has always worked closely with owners to deliver ships that are smart, safe, efficient and sustainable.

“However, the smart ship of today demands intelligent solutions to cover remote operational management and equipment monitoring, and continuous lifecycle services to extend its life.”

"This agreement demonstrates that the most forward-looking shipbuilders recognise collaboration as the key to shipping’s exploitation of the Internet of Things (IoT)."

SHI will also install Inmarsat-approved terminal hardware and applications to include remote machinery diagnostics and CCTV services into its newbuilds as part of the new agreement.

The installation is expected to help SHI leverage the Fleet Xpress platform’s capabilities immediately upon delivery.

SHI’s new ‘smart ship’ service will enable shipowners to improve the efficiency of their ships by generating data from onboard hull-monitors and equipment sensors in real-time.

Inmarsat Maritime president Ronald Spithout said: “The Fleet Xpress service allows SHI to build-in new levels of vessel efficiency.

“This agreement demonstrates that the most forward-looking shipbuilders recognise collaboration as the key to shipping’s exploitation of the Internet of Things (IoT).

“It is also further evidence that Inmarsat and its partners are driving shipping towards value-added applications that are set to digitalise the industry and modes of operation.”

Inmarsat further noted that more than 10,000 vessels have expressed their commitment to using the Fleet Xpress service to date.