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Inmarsat supports the Tonga eruption site by enabling data transmission

A custom connectivity solution enabled the unmanned surface vessel Maxlimer to transmit data and video from the volcanic eruption site in Tonga to UK-based SEA-KIT International

Posted on September 21, 2022 at 10:26 a.m. by

The Maritime Executive

Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile communications, provided SEA-KIT International’s Maxlimer Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) with connectivity services to transmit data and video from the site of the recent underwater volcanic eruption to the Tonga. As part of an international project to assess the environmental damage caused by the eruption, the 12-meter remotely operated vessel mapped the volcano’s submerged caldera and measured local marine conditions.

In 2021, Inmarsat installed a Global Xpress antenna and Fleet LTE hardware aboard Maxlimer, adding to the USV’s existing FleetBroadband antenna and allowing it to access all Fleet Xpress capabilities and failover transparent between networks. Following a successful pilot project, SEA-KIT signed up for a high download plan and the services of Inmarsat Certified Application Provider (CAP) Videosoft Global to support the vessel’s survey activities in Tonga.

Scott Middleton, EMEA Sales Manager, Inmarsat Maritime, said: “This project represented a natural evolution of Inmarsat’s relationship with SEA-KIT and presented us with an exciting opportunity to support an important initiative. The high download plan, which has been tailored to the data and video transmission requirements of Maxlimer, is now available as a general service and we anticipate increased demand from operators of unmanned surface vessels in the future.

Maxlimer used Videosoft’s streaming service, which provides significant bandwidth savings over conventional streaming services, to transmit live video from the site, as well as low-latency, high-definition CCTV allowing SEA-KIT to remotely monitor the vessel’s operations.

Iain Janes, Business Development Manager at Videosoft, said: “We were delighted to offer our adaptive video compression solutions and bespoke real-time transmission over dedicated bandwidth via Inmarsat’s Fleet Connect service. This prevented any interference with Maxlimer’s critical operations.

In addition to high download capacity, SEA-KIT benefited from a 99.9% uptime SLA via Fleet Xpress, with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band spot beams also providing significantly superior signal and faster transmission rates than ordinary wide beam technology. A network of Solution Engineers and Service Managers were ready to support SEA-KIT with any questions or technical issues regarding its connectivity service.

Ashley Skett, Director of Operations, SEA-KIT International, said: “This is our most remote mission to date, taking place in the Pacific Ocean 16,000 kilometers from our base in Tollesbury, Essex. In these circumstances, reliability is essential from our connectivity partner. Inmarsat provides us with world-class connectivity, allowing us to control and monitor Maxlimer’s operations and access live video via a dedicated network. We will work with Inmarsat as we continue to demonstrate the game-changing capabilities of our unmanned surface vessels as a solution for safer and more sustainable maritime operations around the world.

The products and services described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.