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Offshore crews get connectedMCP and Gulf Offshore achieve mobile first in North Sea

MCP has signed contract with the leading offshore shipping operator Gulf Offshore. The deal provide ships with seamless mobile phone coverage and internet access.

Reading time: 4 minutes

September 26th 2013, Arendal, Norway: Maritime Communication Partner (MCP) has signed a landmark three-year contract with leading offshore shipping operator Gulf Offshore Norway, owned by GulfMark Offshore Inc. The deal provides three vessels, all of which operate on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, with solutions enabling seamless mobile phone coverage and internet access. MCP is the first firm to offer this custom-made offshore solution to vessels operating in the North Sea.

MCP, an established leader in the mobile communications market for cruise and ferry operators, is now bringing its expertise and proven global network capabilities to the offshore segment. Its new solution allows crews to communicate at sea as they would on land. This is achieved thanks to an integrated offer that combines MCP’s successful CellAtSea® network, with other networks such as GSM, ICE and VSAT. The result is easy and cost effective communication, enhancing quality of life for crewmembers and improving communication channels between the vessels and the firms that charter them.

“It is a pleasure to be the first company that offers its crew fully-fledged Internet and mobile coverage in the North Sea,” comments Erik Utne Eikerhaugen, COO of Gulf Offshore. “Our on-board crews can now benefit from an easier and more convenient way to keep in touch with family and friends. At the same time, our customers can enjoy a faster and cheaper way to communicate with the ships they have hired, rather than relying on expensive satellite communications. This facilitates better cost control, for us and them.”

Speaking of the competitive nature of the offshore segment, where Gulf Offshore operates six vessels in total (including platform supply vessels, multi-purpose supply vessels and anchor handling vessels) Eikerhaugen continues: “Competition is hard when it comes to attracting and retaining the best crew on the market, and they increasingly expect their employer to provide good communication solutions. MCP’s offshore proposition will really help us in this regard, which in turn impacts very positively on our profitability.”

“Furthermore, it is exciting that a local supplier is the only company offering such services. We are proud to be among MCP’s first customers in this segment.”

The first of the three designated vessels has already been fitted out with MCP’s unique offshore solution, which enables ships to connect to the most appropriate and rational network depending on location. This includes facilitating connections with both terrestrial networks, up to 50 nautical miles from land, and with networks based on installations in the North Sea. In addition, vessels will receive increased bandwidth from the most cost-effective, stable and best network, while unique features also include data compression, web traffic filtering, and data traffic prioritised by importance.

“This agreement with Gulf Offshore Norway is a breakthrough for MCP’s offshore investment, confirming that our services meet today’s demanding market needs,” notes MCP Managing Director, Eivind Madsen.

“Our knowledge and experience based on more than ten years of success in the cruise and ferry segments has given us the unique opportunity to address communication challenges for the offshore market. MCP’s new solutions, which have been keenly supported by our owner Telenor, will initially be launched in domestic areas before spreading into new international markets across the globe,” says Madsen.

*CellAtSea provides unbeatable global coverage when compared to competing networks, with over 300 international roaming agreements in place and near 100 percent operational uptime. In 2012, CellAtSea enjoyed its busiest ever year, with over 13 million users.


Tom Løwehr, Senior Vice President BU Offshore, MCP