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Launching new maritime communication solution

by Arvid Steen

Previously, ships needed to dock after near-accidents to find out what went wrong. Furuno Norge is now launching SafeComNet which, among other things, allows accident investigation to be carried out sooner using broadband satellite transmission of VDR data (VSAT).


Most people are familiar with Furuno Norge. The company is a world leader in shipping vessel electronics, primarily focussing on navigation and communication.

Now the company is launching a new solution called SafeComNet. This is a must-have. It combines navigation and communication in a new and revolutionary way. Shipping companies will save both time and money with the new system.

By integrating VSAT into the VDR system, the black box (if one can make a comparison with the airline industry) is converted from being a passive box to being a recording device that can send all accident information over the internet to shipping companies, the police and insurance companies - it is not necessary to wait until the ship reaches land to go through the ship's data recorder.

Christian Trovik, area sales manager at Furuno Norge A/S

Save time and money

"Such investigations usually take up to 14 days. With our box, a similar review will take one to two days. The data can be sent to Norway from anywhere around the world. This may be a recording of a conversation on the ship's bridge regarding navigation data just before an incident. This will of course result in great savings for the shipping company," says Furuno Norge A/S's area sales manager, Christian Trovik.

He adds:

"We do of course hope that it becomes a requirement that all vessels shall have their data recorders upgraded to an online security system, which we can be one of the first in the world to provide. Not only does it make it safer to be at sea, but it will also make it easier for everyone to investigate accidents and near-accidents quickly, when all of the information and actions are recorded, stored and transmitted as a data file.

Solution for the future

"The black box of the future", as delivered by Furuno Norway, is an integration of existing VDR systems upgraded to an online solution via VSAT and Fleet Broadband. "Interest has been enormous in advance of the launch. It is good timing for us to be able to introduce our equipment at the show," says Christian.

Furuno Norge is also working on several communication and navigation innovations; not least: Equipment that combines both. The company is creating new online ship to shore communication solutions and vice versa.

In addition, Furuno Norge is working on providing equipment that makes it easier for the crew to get online at sea, while also allowing the shipping company and the captain to communicate in a far better way than previously.

"We are a turnkey provider of maritime communication solutions. This is also an innovative feature that is being well received in the market," says Christian.

Customer satisfaction

One customer satisfied with the FURUNO VSAT system is the captain of the M/V Fugro Saltire, LHOD. Furuno VSAT is a satellite-based internet and telephony system for on-board crews.

"All our navigation and communication requirements were provided by Furuno two years ago. Everyone on the vessel received wireless internet. This makes our work day significantly easier. Of course, it is a luxury for the crew to be able to use the internet at the same rapid speeds as on land. The online updating of maps and communication with the shipping company are also superb. Good working tools are important for us at sea. Furuno has helped us a lot," says the captain.