MOL to trial Musk’s Starlink on its operated ships

Japanese shipowner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) plans to trial the use of the satellite communication service Starlink, offered by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp.(SpaceX), on its operated ships.

Gail Bhuwan; IImage credit: MOL/llustration

As informed, MOL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with maritime connectivity specialist Marlink that started offering Starlink services to maritime companies and enterprises in September 2022.

Starlink’s constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) enables much lower latency and higher-capacity communications than traditional satellites.

MOL will now deploy the hybrid connectivity solutions on selected vessels, integrating Starlink LEO with Marlink’s Sealink GEO VSAT service and its digital platform. 

The aim is to increase operating safety through various technological methods of ship-shore communications and improve onboard life for seafarers with high-speed communication.

MOL said that it would verify the effectiveness and operability of this new offshore communication technology and in parallel develop work processes.

 “This pilot will demonstrate the unique user experience of high speed, low latency connectivity working alongside our highly reliable GEO VSAT services, enabling shipowners to drive operational efficiency and enhance crew welfare,” said Tore Morten Olsen, President, Maritime, Marlink.

“MOL is pleased to be collaborating with Marlink to bring the next generation of maritime communications to our fleet and understand better how these services fit into our digital sustainability strategy,” said Ryusuke Kimura, Managing Executive Officer, Mitsui OSK Lines. 

“The ability to improve our business processes and the welfare of our crews, with a partner like Marlink enables us to focus on our core activities and provide the best possible service to our customers.” 

The Marlink network will be completed with an L-band backup solution and orchestrated with Marlink’s network management platform, XChange and Cyber threat detection, including Security Operation Center (SOC) as a service.