Reliable VSAT connectivity improves operational stability for Sun Enterprises.

Wednesday 9, August 2017

Their Sealink VSAT Allowances with MSS backup and XChange from Marlink provide high quality internet connectivity for business applications and crew welfare.

ABOUT THE CUSTOMER

Established in Piraeus in 1968 but with roots dating back to 1902, SUN ENTERPRISES LTD. serves as the consolidated operating company for a modern fleet of 22 tankers and dry bulk carriers with deadweight capacity of almost 2 million tons. During its long history, the company has operated and managed well over 100 vessels.

SUN takes pride in its longstanding tradition of operating a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly fleet. With its award-winning reputation established, SUN remains committed to a stringent fleet maintenance program and extensive on and offshore personnel training while always prioritising environmental concerns.

THE CHALLENGE

Previously equipped with Inmarsat FleetBroadband for business communication, SUN’s core objective was to improve the operational efficiency of their fleet through high quality, stable connectivity. As data became larger and their data volume increased, SUN required VSAT to support increased bandwidth and business critical applications.

SUN needed a global broadband connection, allowing seamless integration of ship and shore-side networks. To further optimise their processes, with vessels in remote areas, remote monitoring and reporting on real-time information was required. Additionally, with crew welfare as a core objective, SUN planned to offer high quality internet access for crew to help them stay in regular touch with family.

THE SOLUTION

In order to meet SUN’s demands for quality of service and recognising their keen interest to keep at the forefront of new technologies, Marlink offered its Sealink Plus VSAT solution to SUN Enterprises to equip its fleet of 22 tanker and dry bulk carrier vessels.
Sealink Plus bundles VSAT, MSS and XChange, enabling SUN to benefit from stable communication for operations and crew, with integrated tools for monitoring and managing their link.
As part of the Sealink Plus package, SUN worked with their Marlink Key Account Manager to determine which Sealink VSAT option would best suit their requirements and determined that a 20 GB per month allowance would enable significantly more capacity for smarter operations, crew access to social media, web browsing and phone calls.
The flexibility of Sealink Allowances were a major draw, since they can be easily upgraded or topped up throughout the duration of the contract via Portal360, Marlink’s online service management platform, making them an ideal gateway from MSS connectivity to VSAT.
To further secure seamless connectivity and keep their business running smoothly around the clock, Inmarsat FleetBroadband was included as their MSS backup service, ensuring business never stops. This was a convenient option for SUN, given that FleetBroadband was already installed across the fleet and could be straightforwardly integrated with their Sealink VSAT. The only change to their FleetBroadband service was that compared to their former pay-per-use service, now on Sealink Plus, SUN always pay the same monthly fee for their connectivity package, regardless of the bandwidth amount consumed or carrier used (Sealink VSAT or Inmarsat FleetBroadband MSS).
SUN Enterprises first embarked on a pilot VSAT project. SUN wisely selected their vessel with the most extensive routes to run the trial, in order to fully examine Sealink coverage and Quality of Service across the globe. Following a successful trial, Marlink was selected over other service providers for proving the best solution with outstanding performance.

Taking care of Crew

Recognising SUN’s strong focus on crew welfare, Marlink’s XChange Power advanced service delivery platform was fully integrated to support and empower SUN to easily manage and control their communications network from onboard and from shore.
Crew welfare communication was addressed thanks to the XChange, since SUN were enabled to provide prepaid vouchers for connectivity and manage users and credits straightforwardly from shore. Also monitoring data traffic and setting priorities over their separated crew and corporate networks. The XChange Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) function, creates a WiFi hotspot onboard allowing crew members to utilise free apps on their own smart phones and devices to make phone calls and browse the internet.

Optimising Business

Since moving to Sealink VSAT services three years ago, SUN have enjoyed significantly improved communication capabilities, allowing more focus on smart shipping applications that can introduce new efficiencies, while at the same time modernising its operations.
Marlink’s quality VSAT link enables SUN vessels to remain interconnected with shore via Virtual Private Networks (VPN). The VPN service is extremely valuable to SUN, allowing remote control of IT equipment and systems on board and inevitably leading to simplified IT management and increased reliability. This also supports the company’s strategy to establish operational and financial efficiencies through the use of digital applications, such as for mandatory documentation and completion of forms, ISN applications, reporting and maintenance.
Meanwhile the cost of calls to the vessel are significantly reduced thanks to Local Numbers, Marlink’s solution enabling calls from shore for the same price of a local call, with telephone numbers available from more than 50 countries and 4,000 cities worldwide.

KEY BENEFITS

  • Stable, predictable VSAT connectivity with guaranteed availability and the cost of each download included in one fixed monthly fee.
  • Cost predictability eliminating bill shock and easing budget control and accounting.
  • Monitoring of data – using Portal360 from onboard or remotely from shore, SUN can monitor usage of their VSAT allowance, set limits and alerts and easily top-up on a temporary, or long-term basis if needed.• Better operational efficiency: documentation, forms and the running of applications have been digitalised and automated, saving time and reducing room for error.
  • Crew welfare: crew benefit from quality internet and email access via their own devices to stay in touch with friends and family– while SUN maintains full control of their access rights. This increases the feeling of job satisfaction among SUN’s crew members, boosting performance and crew retention records.
  • Information Sharing: exchange of up to date information is simplified and facilitated over the air, creating benefits across the business; including navigation, training, assets tracking, safety, maintenance, etc.
  • Cost efficient calling: the cost of calling to the vessels is significantly reduced to the same cost of a local call from home, opening up a far more realistic, cost-effective communication channel into the vessels.

SUN ENTERPRISES’ FEEDBACK

“We have worked with Marlink airtime onboard for more than 10 years. For safe, efficient and reliable operation of our vessels worldwide, it’s important to have a communications provider that we can trust.

Marlink has proven to supply us with high quality services and bandwidth, reliable connectivity and great flexibility to tailor solutions to our specific needs.

When we decided to upgrade to VSAT to modernise our fleet and strengthen communication on board, we decided to test a few other VSAT providers, but Marlink’s excellent service and support made the decision easy.

Reliable, always-on connectivity, IT network stability and appropriate crew communication facilities are the most important factors for us to ensure our fleet operates efficiently and economically. With Sealink VSAT, Marlink has provided us with a complete connectivity solution that provides high performance and a stable foundation for our business going forward.”

Kostas Tsalikis, IT Manager
Sun Enterprises Ltd. / Livanos Group of Companies