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OSG Joins the Shift to Starlink

OSG
File image courtesy OSG

Published Dec 20, 2023 8:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

American tanker operator Overseas Shipholding Group has joined the rush to sign up for Starlink, and it plans to finish rolling out the installation of satellite terminals for the low-cost LEO connectivity service fleetwide by the year's end. 

OSG is on record about the difficulty of recruiting American seafarers, and has even suggested that federal policy should favor recruiting foreign seafarers for U.S.-flag service. Starlink will provide a new amenity to attract and retain mariners, giving OSG's seagoing employees consistent high-speed internet access at sea. This means continuous access to video-calling for contact with friends and family; access to streaming shows and social media; and the kind of general-purpose connectivity that shoreside staff can take for granted. 

"Our crew identified this as important, and we listened. The goal of the Starlink install was to enhance vessel communications and improve our crew’s ability to connect with family and friends. Our seafarers are the greatest asset we possess, and we are glad to support them on this," said Patrick O'Halloran, OSG Chief Operations Officer. "The implementation of this service will further position OSG as a forward-thinking organization."

The rollout will keep OSG competitive with other global deep-sea vessel owners and operators, like Seaspan, Eastern Pacific, Columbia Shipmanagement and Anglo-Eastern. Seaspan is rolling out Starlink across its 130-plus boxships worldwide, and Anglo-Eastern reported its 100th installation in September. The general trend, according to Anglo-Eastern, is an "overwhelmingly positive response in respect of both operations and crew wellbeing."

Since last year, Starlink has also become something of a standard feature in the cruise industry, where high bandwidth and low latency are valued by passengers. It can be found aboard Carnival, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Hurtigruten, Silversea and Windstar vessels, among others.