Good news from commercial fishing fleets around the world using Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) OpenPort(R) marine satellite system. As an example, FV Aart Maaskant (UK95) was one of the first Dutch commercial fishing vessels to be fitted with Iridium OpenPort after Gannexion BV, an Iridium service partner installed the Iridium high-bandwidth terminal. They replaced the existing satcom system on the 42.36-meter beam trawler, which operates in the North Sea.
Jan de Boer, the vessel's owner and captain, said, "Iridium OpenPort is always online. It sends our e-mails faster in comparison to the satcom system we used previously, and it gives us the possibility to download
the latest news to stay up to date with what is happening in the world. Iridium OpenPort equipment cost and airtime charges are substantially
lower than those of other satcom systems we considered," said de Boer.
The crew is using the free e-mail service offered by Gannexion BV to
send and receive messages at sea. The e-mail software also permits them
to access Websites to download information on an adjustable schedule.
"The captain sets the Iridium OpenPort terminal to automatically
receive the weather forecast twice a day," said Patrick Albers, service engineer, Gannexion BV. "This way they don't need an extra subscription with a third party who will charge them for sending the weather
forecast. Iridium OpenPort will also be an ideal solution for
transmission of daily catch reports to meet future e-logbook regulatory
Samherji HF, a major Icelandic seafood company with vessels operating
around the world, has installed Iridium OpenPort on two of its trawlers
under a service contract with Siminn and AST. Samherji's electronics
engineer, Kristinn Danielsson, said, "Iridium OpenPort provides
excellent coverage and performance even when we are fishing in Arctic
waters that are not reliably served by other satellite services."
Siminn, Iceland's primary telecoms company, installed the systems on
the Samherji vessels.
"Iridium OpenPort provides a unique value proposition for commercial
fishing operators, with three independent phone circuits and a separate
high-speed data port that can be provisioned for data rates from 9.6 to
128 kbps with IP-based connectivity," said Greg Ewert, executive vice
president, global distribution channels, Iridium. "All of the phone and
data lines can be used simultaneously without interference. Iridium's
cross-linked, low-earth orbit satellite network provides complete
global coverage, including the important Arctic and Antarctic
fisheries, which are not reached by any other marine satellite
Ewert noted that Iridium OpenPort has been approved in many European
countries to meet the pending EU requirement for e-logbooks.
"The three separate phone lines make it possible for several
crewmembers to call their families and friends at the same time during
their off-duty hours without having to queue for a single satellite
phone," said Gylfi Mar Jonsson, product manager at Siminn. "The Iridium OpenPort terminal is small and lightweight, and it is easy for one
person to install the antenna without using a crane. There are no
moving parts in the antenna, so maintenance costs are lower than other
satcom systems with stabilized dish arrays."