December 16 - Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT), a provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has activated the 5,000th FleetBroadband terminal.

The company says that the 5,000 FleetBroadband terminals activated through Inmarsat's global partner network make it the fastest adopted maritime service in the company's 30-year history.

Piers Cunningham, maritime business director claims: "The continued strong growth for FleetBroadband shows that it has become the de facto standard for modern maritime communications. FB150 in particular is beating our expectations."

The 5,000th terminal was activated on a heavy lift vessel - Happy Rover - owned by Dutch company BigLift Shipping BV, a member of the Spliethoff Group.

Happy Rover was fitted with an FB500 by Stratos which has managed Spliethoff's communications for over 30 years, from the early days of telex through to FleetBroadband; and now works closely with Peter Van de Venne, IT director at Spliethoff, to utilise new features like remote IT management, and to improve the information flow between ship and shore while maintaining control over the costs.

According to Mr Van de Venne, Happy Rover is the latest of nine vessels to adopt FleetBroadband, with new vessels to follow.

Mr Van de Venne said: "We are particularly pleased with the remote maintenance feature. We have refined our software programmes so we are now able to routinely check on progress online rather than talking on the phone, which is not only costly but can often lead to misinterpretation or misunderstanding. This way we check with the Captain and then connect at a time that works for us here in Amsterdam to take over the PC. Effectively, we can 'mouse move' across the oceans, day or night, which is not only cost effective but operationally more efficient."

With the upgrade to FleetBroadband, the 20-strong crew onboard Happy Rover will benefit from global connectivity as they sail around the world delivering cargo. In the not-too-distant future Peter Van de Venne believes that the Spliethoff Group will evaluate the benefits of slow-scan video as a solution to such problems as engine malfunction, cargo damage and medical emergencies.