Bourbon has selected Inmarsat’s maritime broadband service Fleet Xpress for deployment on more than 100 of the company’s offshore support vessels (OSVs).

Fleet Xpress combines the speed of Ka-band with continuous back-up from FleetBroadband, operating on L-band.

The service is already installed on 7,000 vessels, primarily seagoing merchant ships.

Inmarsat Maritime Offshore Energy vice-president Eric Griffin said: “Commercial shipping is using Fleet Xpress as its pathway to maritime digitalisation. Now, the value of joining that journey is being acknowledged by one of the leading marine offshore service providers in the world.”

“An important aspect of Fleet Xpress is that third-party charterers could run their own Fleet Xpress services via a dedicated pipe without interrupting the primary bandwidth being provided to an OSV.”

The installation covers a total of 133 ‘smart’ vessels and is scheduled to be completed by 2021.

Bourbon CEO Gaël Bodénès said: “The time has come for operational intelligence, connected vessels, use of predictive maintenance, shore-based control centres, rationalisation of tasks, etc.

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“Automation of onboard systems is already a reality for our seafarers and we must all innovate at speed to invent our business model and our professions of tomorrow.”

All vessels covered in the agreement will feature advanced 3-axis stabilised antennas from Cobham.

Inmarsat specifically developed and approved the antennas for the Global Xpress satellite network.

Bourbon’s group of high-end subsea vessels’ data consumption and management requirements are prepared for the Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions. The vessels will be the first to will migrate to Fleet Xpress.

The ships also feature dual satellite terminals with high-powered amplifiers for additional redundancy.