Mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat is set to launch a new service, Crew Xpress, in a bid to improve seafarer connectivity.

The Crew Xpress package will be offered for crew on Fleet Xpress and includes a Fleet Hotspot-managed Wi-Fi solution, a 60cm Fleet Xpress antenna, as well as a 6GB business-use data package with an antenna offered on lease terms.

It includes an automated billing and a usage revenue recovery scheme to incentivise ship managers to invest in crew connectivity.

Inmarsat Maritime president Ronald Spithout said: “We have seen migration by a significant part of our customer base to our full high-speed Fleet Xpress service, but we also recognise crew wellbeing as a separate connectivity imperative.

“There is a group of owners and managers who seek fully managed Wi-Fi connectivity that crew can use on a self-service basis, but whose business data needs do not yet extend to the sensor-driven equipment maintenance or IoT-based route planning enabled by Ka-band.

“Crew Xpress allows those managers to start offering a managed, high-speed crew internet solution.”

“Crew Xpress allows those managers to start offering a managed, high-speed crew internet solution, while staying on an allowance plan, with the ability to migrate at any time to the full Fleet Xpress package.”

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Crew Xpress is expected to launch commercially in April.

The Crew Xpress Fleet Hotspot portal could be useful for passenger vessels and superyachts or for the contractors on-board offshore support vessels.

It is an improvement to a service initially developed by Inmarsat’s aviation business unit for pilots and cabin crew.