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MOL Completes Sea Trials of SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Service

Japanese shipping company MOL has completed sea trials of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband internet on board one of its vessels.

The trial was conducted on board an MOL-operated car carrier and confirmed speeds of up to 50 times faster compared to conventional satellite-based broadband services.

Connectivity at sea can go a long way in boosting crew morale. Last year, a International Labor Organization (ILO) committee adopted new amendments to Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) aimed at improving the living and working conditions of seafarers. Among them was an amendment to include the right to mandatory social connectivity for crews – including internet access

Starlink service can provide seafarers with the same level of connectivity as on shore, including access to movies, television and video calls. Greater bandwidth also has major implications for the adoption of new technology, including AI and remotely-operated systems.

“Seafarers’ work requires to spend time far from home, and it is extremely important to have improved Internet connectivity onboard so that we can connect with family and friends in real time via video calls, even while we are at sea,” said one crew member on board the trial vessel.

MOL said it will continue trials on multiple vessels with the intention of adopting the service on MOL-operated vessels.

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