Dubai shipping company Topaz links ships to shore with Maritime Connect
Dubai shipping company Topaz links fleet with Maritime Connect
Topaz's Caspian Qala, a platform support vessel operating in Azerbaijan (Credit: Topaz)

Dubai shipping company Topaz links ships to shore with Maritime Connect

Dubai-based Topaz Energy and Marine has signed up with Orange Business Services for its Maritime Connect service to transform ship-to-shore communications.

Topaz is an offshore support vessel company for the global energy industry. Its fleet provides services to offshore projects, and its 110-plus fleet includes vessels for anchor handling and delivering platform supplies, as well as specialised barges and ice-breakers.

The company’s work is primarily focused in the Caspian Sea, the waters around the Middle East and West Africa, and on subsea operations (such as laying undersea cables) in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

The Orange integrated communications platform is designed to increase the efficiency of the fleet, lower costs and improve the onboard experience for crew. Under a three-year agreement, Orange will initially connect 39 vessels from the Topaz fleet, with a view to rolling out Maritime Connect across the entire fleet by the end of 2018.

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Choice of connections

The Orange Maritime Connect platform incorporates multiple connections including VSAT, L-Band terminals, 3G/4G and Wi-Fi. It routes traffic depending on the availability of the link and quality of service requirements.It will manage voice, video and data in areas of limited bandwidth and challenging weather conditions.

Fleet management is a primary concern for Topaz. It needs dashboards that can detect vessels deviating from the average standard in terms of fuel consumption, speed or maintenance issues, for example.

In effect, Maritime Connect will integrate Topaz vessels with the company’s main corporate network, transforming them into “branch offices at sea”, said Orange Business Services’ vice president for the Middle East and Africa, Luc Serviant.

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A seachange in ship-to-shore comms

“The maritime industry is undergoing its own digital transformation, from digital ports to vessel management. We operate in a unique context, spanning ship-to-shore operations, with the majority of our people based offshore,” said Rene Kofod-Olsen, Topaz’s chief executive officer.

By enhancing the communications capabilities of our vessels, we are able to synchronize and manage our integrated business operations more effectively and ensure our crew can easily access the internet for all their business communication needs, as well as connecting them to family and friends and transforming the onboard experience.”

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