An offshore oil and gas marine services company has signed a contract committing more than 100 offshore support vessels (OSVs) to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress maritime broadband service.

'Bourbon Evolution'

Bourbon has committed more than 100 OSVs to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress. Image: Bourbon

The deal with Bourbon represents a breakthrough offshore contract for Fleet Xpress, which combines the speed of Ka-band with continuous back up from Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband operating on L-band, and is already installed on some 7,000 vessels - mainly seagoing merchant ships.

Eric Griffin, VP Offshore Energy at Inmarsat Maritime, 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.”

Reducing operating costs

The agreement marks a new stage in Bourbon’s Smart Shipping Programme, which seeks to leverage digital and connectivity tools to reduce fleet operating costs. Set for completion by 2021, the programme envisages deployment on 133 ‘smart’ vessels.

Mr Griffin stressed that flexibility has been an essential ingredient in securing the Bourbon deal. “The service provider could raise or lower bandwidth usage as necessary, or even suspend it on a planned basis without penalty,” he said.

All vessels covered in the agreement will feature advanced 3-axis stabilised antennas from Cobham, specifically developed for and approved by Inmarsat for the Global Xpress satellite network.

By Rebecca Jeffrey