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Iridium’s Openport proves popular with Spanish fleet

31 Aug 2010
Many Spanish fishing vessel operators are using OpenPort to comply with the new European Union regulations for electronic log keeping and reporting.

Many Spanish fishing vessel operators are using OpenPort to comply with the new European Union regulations for electronic log keeping and reporting.

US-based Iridium Communications has received orders for more than 100 Iridium OpenPort broadband satellite terminals for installation on Spanish commercial fishing vessels.

OpenPort is popular among Spanish fishing captains, confirmed Javier Ormaechea, CEO of Zunibal, an Iridium service provider in Spain. “They prefer Iridium OpenPort because of its worldwide coverage, including the important fisheries in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and also its high-bandwidth data connections and competitive pricing for equipment and airtime.”

Ormaechea said many Spanish fishing vessel operators are using OpenPort to comply with the new European Union regulations for electronic log keeping and reporting.

In a move to replace traditional paper logbooks and reporting, the EU has mandated that all fishing fleets operated by member states must transmit daily reports of catch, transshipments, landings and sales electronically to fishing authorities.

The e-logbook regulations came into effect 1 January 2010, for vessels more than 24m in length, and will be extended to vessels more than 15m in length on 1 July 12011.

Spain has more than 2,300 vessels subject to the EU e-logbook requirements, more than any other European country. The Spanish government is offering subsidies to vessel owners to offset some of the costs of meeting the e-logbook requirements.

Lorenzo Dominguez, captain of the FV Gene, said that, in addition to meeting the EU e-logbook requirements, OpenPort provides a complete communication centre for ship-to-shore voice and data calling.

“The three separate phone lines are very popular since crew don’t have to stand in line waiting to use a single phone circuit,” he said. “Our crew also uses Zunibal’s optimised satellite email software ‘Zunport’ to send e-mails to families and friends at home, which is great for crew welfare.”

Antonio Gonzalez Cadilla, captain of the FV Mauel Alba, said, “We like Iridium OpenPort because it is less expensive than other satellite systems, in terms of the equipment, installation, maintenance and usage costs. The small antenna is easy to install and has no moving parts, greatly reducing the ongoing maintenance costs and improving reliability.”

Greg Ewert, Iridium’s executive vice president global distribution channels, said the company is in advanced stages of planning for Iridium Next, the next-generation satellites that will replace the existing 66-satellite constellation starting in 2015. 

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Many Spanish fishing vessel operators are using OpenPort to comply with the new European Union regulations for electronic log keeping and reporting.

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