Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) is going to install Starlink satellite communication service on 233 of its ocean-going vessels managed by MOL Group ship management companies. The group plans to have about 140 vessels equipped with the system by the end of fiscal year 2023.
Starlink is a satellite communications service that uses multiple small satellites deployed in low orbit to provide high-speed, low-latency connectivity. MOL has conducted trials on several MOL-operated vessels.
The trials confirmed a dramatic improvement in the communication environment, with up to a 50-fold increase in communication speed, enabling seafarers to make video calls with family members and watch videos, which were difficult in the past.
Considering the positive impact on seafarers’ wellbeing, MOL has decided to proceed with a full-scale introduction of the system on its managed ocean-going vessels.
The shortage of seafarers in the shipping industry is becoming more serious, and as of January 2023, there will be a 10% shortage of seafarers compared to the number needed around the world.
Against this backdrop, MOL sees an urgent need to improve the wellbeing of seafarers onboard its vessels. Because the general onboard communication environment causes time lag and capacity limitations for private communication with family and friends, improvement of the onboard communication environment is a critical issue that must be addressed not only by MOL but also by the industry as a whole.
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