Shipping communications and connectivity group Marlink will collaborate with ABS Wavesight to support delivery of sustainability services and data to mutual clients’ vessels.

The agreement connects vessel management and voyage optimisation services provided by the maritime software company to Marlink’s network.

Launched in late 2022, ABS Wavesight — which is affiliated with the American Bureau of Shipping — combines two platforms, Nautical Systems and My Digital Fleet, which are collectively installed on more than 5,000 vessels. Marlink serves about 25,000 ships.

The companies will work to improve connectivity and integration of software and services into ships so that operators can benefit from faster, more regular data updates and enhanced use of digital tools and applications.

Marlink president of maritime Tore Morten Olsen told TradeWinds that the company works with other class societies, but the tie-up with ABS Wavesight is unique, as it has set up a dedicated software company and is a more direct relationship to provide digital and decarbonisation software services.

He said that as Marlink does not own satellites, it can bring together a comprehensive communications network with connectivity across all available channels, including VSAT, L-band, 4G/5G and services offered by Starlink and OneWeb.

The new low earth orbit satellite services from Starlink and OneWeb will provide maritime users with high throughput and low latency connectivity, and the increased competition with traditional satellite operators has helped cut costs.

“We are reaching a point where we are able to deliver massive volumes of data at a reasonable cost to shipowners,” Olsen said.

ABS Wavesight chief executive Paul Sells agreed that cost had been a barrier in the past, but said partnering Marlink allowed it “in a way we weren’t able to five or three years ago to look to incorporating some of the most modern web technologies in use in other industries, because we feel the industry is inevitably going to get to a period of constant connectivity”.

Olsen and Sells said the lower price of delivery means ship operators can look at communications not as a cost but as an enabler to make savings from digital vessel optimisation developments and ease the complexity of dealing with regulations and cutting emissions.