Singapore-based Nippon Yussen Kaisha (NYK) Shipmanagement performed a trial of the Starlink satellite communications service, provided by Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), on one of its vessels.
NYK said because ship–shore communications are currently conducted via high-orbit satellites, the communication speed on board ships is slower than on land, while higher communication speed requires the use of expensive high-capacity communications.
Starlink, on the other hand, uses low-orbit satellites, allowing higher speed and capacity at a lower cost than conventional communications, according to NYK's announcement.
The shipping company claims that it aims to maintain and improve seafarers' work motivation by expanding their benefits by facilitating communication between seafarers working on board and their families and friends ashore.
Furthermore, NYK noted that videoconferencing between ships and land facilitates conventional business communication that relies on emails and telephone calls, contributing to safe operations by providing a real-time onshore support system in the event of equipment failure or trouble, or remote medical treatment for seafarers.
NYK believes the launch of the Starlink service will make it possible to apply autonomous navigation technology, communicate weather and marine weather data between ships and land in the sea region they are sailing, and develop on-board digital transformation (DX) operations.
Regarding the testing, the Starlink satellite communications service was conducted on container ships and led to significantly faster transmission speeds than those that had previously been accessible along the North American continental shoreline.
As part of its long-term goals, NYK Group intends to collaborate with several partners to develop marine innovations by boosting faster ship-to-shore communication and taking serious precaution measures against cyber risks.