New Wave Media

September 21, 2022

Inmarsat Supports Sea-Kit's USV Tonga Eruption Site Survey

USV Maxlimer returning from HT-HH caldera - Credit: Inmarsat

USV Maxlimer returning from HT-HH caldera - Credit: Inmarsat

Satellite communication specialist Inmarsat said Wednesday it had provided SEA-KIT International’s uncrewed surface vessel (USV) Maxlimer with connectivity services to transmit data and video from the site of the recent underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga. 

As part of an international project to assess the environmental damage caused by the eruption, the 12-meter remotely operated vessel mapped the volcano’s submerged caldera and measured local marine conditions.

In 2021, Inmarsat installed a Global Xpress antenna and Fleet LTE hardware on board Maxlimer, adding to the USV’s existing FleetBroadband antenna and allowing it to access full Fleet Xpress capabilities and seamlessly switch between networks. Following a  successful pilot, SEA-KIT has signed up for a high-upload plan and the services of Inmarsat Certified Application Provider (CAP) Videosoft Global to support the vessel’s survey activities in Tonga.

Scott Middleton, Sales Director EMEA, Inmarsat Maritime, said: “This project represented a natural evolution of Inmarsat’s relationship with SEA-KIT  and offered us an exciting opportunity to support an important initiative. The high-upload plan, which was tailored to Maxlimer’s data  and video-transmission requirements, is now available as a general  service and we anticipate more demand from uncrewed surface vessel  operators in the future.”

According to Inmarsat, Maxlimer used Videosoft’s streaming service, which has significant bandwidth savings when compared with conventional streaming services, to transmit live video from the site, as well as high-definition, low-latency CCTV  enabling SEA-KIT to monitor the vessel’s operations remotely.

Iain Janes, Business Development Manager, Videosoft, said: “We were delighted to offer our adaptive video compression solutions and bespoke real-time transmission via a dedicated bandwidth through Inmarsat’s  Fleet Connect service. This prevented interference with Maxlimer’s  mission-critical operations.”

Inparsat said that, apart from high-upload capacity, SEA-KIT also benefitted from a 99.9%  uptime service level agreement through Fleet Xpress, with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band spot beams also providing significantly higher signal strength and faster transmission rates than regular wide-beam technology. Ashley Skett, Director of Operations, SEA-KIT International, said: “This is our most remote mission to date, taking place in the Pacific Ocean  16,000 kilometers from our base in Tollesbury, Essex.

In these circumstances, reliability is critical from our connectivity partner.  Inmarsat provides us with world-class connectivity, allowing us to control and monitor Maxlimer’s operations and access live-streamed video via a dedicated network. We will work together with Inmarsat as we  continue to demonstrate the ground-breaking capabilities of our uncrewed surface vessels as a solution for safer and more sustainable maritime  operations around the world.”

In this Oceanographic edition, MTR dives into the Seabed 2030 project with updates on the technology, technique and pace of the collaborative project to map the world’s oceans by 2030.
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