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MV Fraternity takes Iridium ship to shore communications

Iridium : 08 December, 2009  (Application Story)
High bandwidth maritime satellite communications terminal in use aboard the 159,000 ton Euronav tanker MV Fraternity
MV Fraternity takes Iridium ship to shore communications
Iridium Communications announces the activation of the 1,000th Iridium OpenPort marine satellite terminal aboard the Euronav tanker MV Fraternity.

Iridium’s service provider AND Group installed and commissioned the Iridium OpenPort unit, which utilizes AND’s IPSignature communication management software for voice and data calls.

Wouter Deknopper, Iridium’s director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, presented a framed certificate to the shipowner on December 3 commemorating the event.

Fraternity is a new double-hull Belgium-flagged 159,000 deadweight ton tanker just delivered to Euronav from the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea. It is the 13th Euronav vessel to be fitted with Iridium OpenPort, and the company is currently installing the Iridium satcom terminals on 20 more ships.

“We are outfitting our tanker fleet with Iridium OpenPort to provide a cost-effective higher-bandwidth solution for our ship-to-shore communications,” said Victor Kaidatzis, IT manager, Euronav. “We chose Iridium OpenPort because of its flexible, multi-line capabilities for voice and data, and its low capital acquisition and monthly usage costs, when compared to other maritime satellite systems. We are also impressed with AND’s powerful IPSignature calling software, which helps us to manage our voice, e-mail and data traffic and communication costs more efficiently.”

Euronav is dedicating two of the three voice channels for Iridium GoChat crew calling, with the third phone line on the bridge for ship’s business, according to Ian Robinson, CEO of AND Group. The crew calling phones are located in telephone booths, permitting two off-duty crew members to talk privately with their families or friends at home simultaneously without queuing for a single public phone.

“In the past year, we have activated 1,000 Iridium OpenPort terminals,” said Greg Ewert, executive vice president, global distribution channels, Iridium. “Since we completed sea trials of beta units and commenced full-scale delivery of production units in the first quarter, the product has received a positive response from early customers, many of whom have committed to install Iridium OpenPort on additional ships across the fleet.”

“Iridium OpenPort offers an unbeatable value proposition of global coverage, three independent phone lines and separate data port scalable to 128 kbps, with a lightweight omni-directional antenna unit and cost-effective service plans for voice and data,” Ewert added.
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