Home >> April 2011 Edition >> A Case In Point
A Case In Point

Trident Seafoods of Seattle, Washington, recently selected KVH’s TracPhone® V7 satellite communications system and mini-VSAT BroadbandSM service to provide Internet and voice services for business communications and crew morale aboard six of its 130 to 162’ trawl catcher vessels operating in the Bering Sea.

“We were looking for a solution to support our vessel-to-vessel and vessel-to-shore business communications, as well as for longer term web-based fishery management programs currently in development. In addition, we have seen a boost in crew morale due to the increased opportunities for them to stay in touch while being gone for extended periods,” said Christian Asay, operations manager for Trident Seafoods Corporation. “We knew we wanted broadband, considered KVH a reputable operation, and like the mini-VSAT service plans as they allow us to accurately budget and control our communications costs without any month-end billing surprises.”

KVHFig1 Challenges
Finding a satellite communications system that is easy to install and comes with affordable, reliable service is difficult enough. However, Trident Seafoods is a sizable operation, so communications costs need to meet strict monthly budgets, while supporting day-to-day business functions such as email and fishery management, all of which can quickly eat up large amounts of bandwidth. Crew communications can do the same, but is available onboard all Trident vessels as one of the company’s initiatives to offer crew members the best work environment possible.

KVHFig2 The Solution
“We really like the controlled cost of the monthly mini-VSAT Broadband rate plans,” Asay explains. “While the cost is actually a little bit higher than what we were paying with our old MSAT systems and their pay-per-minute plans, we have gained so much operational efficiency with the TracPhone V7s that we deemed the slight cost increase completely justifiable. We can use the mini-VSAT Broadband service much more without any added cost, and we can move data, which is a valuable tool that we didn’t have before. I also determined that mini-VSAT Broadband
is far more cost-effective than the other ‘pay-as-you-go’ VSAT plans that we considered.”

While budgetary considerations determined that mini-VSAT Broadband service would best fit Trident’s needs, the TracPhone V7 hardware was specifically requested by Trident vessel captains. “The recommendation for the TracPhone V7 actually came from some of the captains operating our vessels — they had heard about it from other captains,” Asay explains. “They are very pleased with the system, specifically as it pertains to the ability to e-mail photos for hard-to-find parts, access weather reports, and communicate them to the rest of the fleet. The system is an important communications and data access tool that helps Trident vessels operate under various fishery management programs.”

Hassle-Free Installation + Activation
All six TracPhone V7 installations were performed in Dutch Harbor, Alaksa, and went smoothly. The mini-VSAT Broadband service activation was problem-free as well, requiring just a couple of days, and the network continues to meet Trident’s expectations. “We’re very pleased and plan to add more TracPhone V7 systems to our fleet in the future,” said Asay.

KVHFig3 Results/Impact
“Even though we still have MSAT phones onboard the vessels, we rarely use them or the Inmarsat C systems, which are now used only for very limited text messaging. The TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband are our go-to solution for all business and crew communications on these trawl catchers,” Asay said. In addition to supporting Trident’s vessel-to-vessel and vessel-to-shore business and crew communications, the six TracPhone V7 systems are also an insurance policy of sorts. Asay sees a strong trend toward web-based catch reporting and fishery management, as well as fishermen sharing important information about fishing conditions in various locations. He feels that having mini-VSAT Broadband aboard Trident’s vessels offers them a unique opportunity to take advantage of these resources even as they are developing, giving the company a competitive edge. They’ve been so successful that Trident plans to purchase another five TracPhone V7 systems for other trawl catchers, ranging from 99’ to 162’. Trident is also considering installing systems on several other vessels in the near future, including one of its large processing vessels.

“The future of catch and bycatch management in the Bering Sea is likely going web-based,” he predicts. “Without full-time broadband onboard, boats have to wait until they get in to find out by catch rates and other pertinent data. Thanks to mini-VSAT Broadband, I feel our boats will have a distinct advantage by having full-time access to this data as well as blog sites to find and share information about the fishing grounds.”

About KVH Industries, Inc.
Middletown, Rhode Island-based KVH Industries, Inc., and its subsidiaries are leading providers of in-motion satellite TV and communications systems, having designed, manufactured, and sold more than 150,000 mobile satellite antennas for applications on vessels, vehicles, and aircraft. For more information, access KVH’s product infopage at http://www.minivsat.com