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New Fleet One VMS Solution launched to enable vessels compliance with 2021 Sustainability Regulation

by Saltwater Stone 3 Dec 2020 04:07 PST
Pivotel's type-approved Fleet One Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) package with Addvalue iFleetONE IP-based terminal offers a complete solution to the US sport fishing market © Pivotel

Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has partnered with Pivotel and Addvalue Innovation to offer owners and operators of sport fishing vessels in the United States the most complete connectivity solution on the market.

The collaboration will deliver both compliance with 2021 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries regulations and demand for reliable on-board satellite communications.

Effective on January 5 2021, the new reporting regulations require the owner or operator of a charter or headboat vessel with a Gulf federal for-hire permit to electronically declare a trip before leaving and to submit an electronic fishing report for each trip prior to offloading fish. For-hire vessel operators must report all species caught, regardless of where fished. They must also install permanent approved location tracking hardware/software with GPS capabilities that transmits data to the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) / NOAA. For-hire trip declarations cannot be submitted using the commercial telephone system or unapproved software.

The for-hire modified rules have been introduced to improve data collection, fisheries management and sustainability, by efficiently monitoring recreational fishing seasons, collecting accurate records of for-hire vessel landings and locations, and securing more detailed information for economic analysis for proposed Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council actions.

Providing guaranteed performance via Inmarsat's L-band service, Pivotel will offer the type-approved Fleet One Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) package. This includes the Addvalue iFleetONE IP-based terminal for full-featured voice and data services and proprietary VMS, RedPort Optimizer firewall and router for data management, and Pivotel satellite connectivity via Inmarsat. It facilitates the delivery of the trip declaration, electronic fishing reporting and location tracking components required to comply with the new NOAA rules. It also offers enhanced broadband communications for crew connectivity, improved contact with family and friends ashore, and more efficient vessel operations.

Fishing vessels affected by the regulations that do not have NMFS/NOAA's type-approved Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) but have purchased an approved Enhanced Mobile Transceiver Unit (E-MTU) device to comply with the NMFS/NOAA's regulations, are eligible for a VMS rebate of up to $3,100 under a Pacific States Marine Fisheries commission reimbursement scheme. According to NOAA Fisheries, there are about 3,000 charter and headboat vessels in the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico, most of which have never reported catch information previously.

Failure to submit fishing records will result in prohibition from harvesting the reef fish or pelagic species, non-renewal of federal for-hire permits or possible further NOAA penalties.

Eric Griffin, Vice President of Offshore and Fishing, Inmarsat Maritime, said: "The fully-integrated Fleet One VMS is an innovative solution, unlocked by the Inmarsat, Pivotel, Addvalue partnership. It is the most robust choice on the market for sport fishing users and charter vessels in the US because it offers both regulation compliance for future years, plus voice and IP-based communications capabilities."

Fulfilling the criteria of the Southeast For Hire Electronic Reporting Program for use as NMFS-approved hardware and software, the Fleet One VMS provides vessel owners with flexible and reliable satellite capabilities through Inmarsat's easy-to-use Fleet One service, without the need to rely on cellular-based devices to submit data or declare trips. Users can take advantage of satellite and mobile technologies specialist Pivotel's bundled pricing and customized airtime packages, gaining access to value-added features for enhanced vessel operations and daily life onboard, including email, weather updates, navigation, fishing data, light web browsing, voice and SMS. Meanwhile, the proprietary VMS functions embedded in the Addvalue iFleetONE terminal enable a dedicated connection for satellite reporting of data, providing the reassurance of compliance with reporting and location tracking regulations.

Robert Sakker, President, Pivotel America said: "Pivotel has an extensive channel partner network to install, activate and support the VMS-enabled Fleet One solution for our fishing vessel customers. The Pivotel solution uses the VMS airtime component to submit the vessel's location and catch information within the NOAA's submission and formatting guidelines for data reporting and position tracking. To enhance our vessel customers' onboard experience, Pivotel pairs the VMS service with our RedPort Optimizer with its inbuilt customizable firewall, which secures the wireless connection to the Addvalue iFleetONE terminal. Uniquely, Pivotel uses two data streams to enable simultaneous regulatory and vessel communications. The regulatory connection uses a proprietary APN (Access Provider Name), while the optional commercial data connection enables access to satellite Internet data bundles, value-added and satellite optimised services, and voice connectivity supported by an easy-to-call local US number."

K. Kalaivanan, Head of Solutions Platform of Addvalue said, "With around 3,000 sport fishing vessels as the addressable market associated with the NMFS/NOAA's new ruling on 'Gulf for Hire Fisheries', we are extremely excited about this partnership with Inmarsat and Pivotel to launch the Addvalue iFleetONE VMS solution. Indeed, the unique Addvalue iFleetONE VMS package has no parallel in the market. Besides facilitating the various VMS functions under the NMFS/NOAA's rules, it also supports generic internet connections for fleet operations and crew communication. This '2-in-1' value proposition will not only help the fishing fleet owners meet today's demanding communications but will also enable the expansion of digital applications on board the vessels for many years to come."

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