Maersk Gives its Seafarers Starlink Internet

Maersk Starlink
File image courtesy Maersk

Published Oct 12, 2023 6:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

Maersk Line has joined the growing number of top-tier shipping companies fitting their fleets with Starlink satcom terminals. SpaceX's low-earth-orbit, high-speed, low-latency, low-cost Starlink service has rapidly gained market share in maritime, starting with data-hungry power users in the cruise market. It keeps gaining traction in other segments - in part because seafarers report that they like it.

Maersk started out with a trial run aboard 30 of its owned vessels. Crewmembers on these ships had a chance to try out the 200 Mbps connection, and they gave "very positive" feedback about the experience, Maersk said.

After the test phase results came in, Maersk decided to roll out Starlink to all 330 of its owned vessels. In an era when many seafarers are still struggling to get basic onboard connectivity, Maersk's privileged mariners will have "seamless streaming and high-definition videocalls."

According to Leonardo Sonzio, Maersk's Head of Fleet Management and Technology, the high-speed connectivity delivered by Starlink will enable cost-saving digitalization measures, too. Onboard business applications can be moved to the cloud, and remote support and inspection services will be strengthened.

"A.P. Moller-Maersk’s vessels are key to global trade, and Starlink’s high-speed broadband through the world’s most advanced satellite internet constellation will help boost efficiency through seamless connectivity no matter where in the world they are," said Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales.

Existing users in the container shipping segment include shipowner Seaspan and ship manager Anglo-Eastern, among others. Other maritime users include Solstad, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Hurtigruten, NCL, Silversea, Windstar, Eastern Pacific and Columbia Shipmanagement. Most third-party connectivity providers have added Starlink to their service portfolios; it can also be bought directly from SpaceX from $250 per month plus $2,500 in equipment.