Inmarsat supports Tonga eruption site survey by enabling over-the-horizon vessel operation, data transmission

21 September 2022 – Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile communications, 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-metre remotely operated vessel mapped the volcano’s submerged caldera and measured local marine conditions.

USV Maxlimer returning from HT-HH caldera

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.”

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.”

In addition to high-upload capacity, SEA-KIT 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. A network of solutions engineers and service managers was ready to support SEA-KIT with any technical queries or issues regarding its connectivity service.

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 kilometres 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.”



Inmarsat delivers world leading, innovative, advanced and exceptionally reliable global, mobile communications across the world – in the air, at sea and on land – that are enabling a new generation of commercial, government and mission-critical services. Inmarsat is powering the digitalisation of the maritime industry, making operations more efficient and safer than ever before. It is driving a new era of inflight passenger services for aviation, while ensuring that aircraft can fly with maximum efficiency and safety. Furthermore, Inmarsat is enabling the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and enabling the next wave of world-changing technologies that will underpin the connected society and help build a sustainable future. And now Inmarsat is developing the first-of-its-kind, multi-dimensional communications network of the future, ORCHESTRA.

In November 2021, Inmarsat and Viasat announced the planned combination of the two companies, to create a new leader in global communications. The deal is scheduled to close in the second half of 2022.

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