Norway’s Maritime “Information Highway”

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Norway’s Maritime

Norway has developed the first wireless network at sea to tackle oil spills. The Maritime Broadband Radio is developed for use in maritime applications where digital high-speed reliable communication and data transfer are crucial for efficient and safe operations.

The system will be implemented on ships and aircrafts in public service and enables exchange if information that can be crucial in limiting damage when accidents occur. To improve offshore oil spill preparedness, Norway’s government and the oil industry are building an offshore broadband wireless network.

Norway’s Maritime "Information Highway"
Coastguard ship KV Bergen

The maritime “information highway, (MBR), connects crews and their vessels with a high-speed and high capacity digital communication channel with “fast track” priority options.

The two Norwegian companies Kongsberg Seatex and Radionor have teamed up to develop the MBR. In contrast to previous systems, MBR is highly stable and with extensive reach and enables streaming of HD-video.

According to the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the ability to exchange information quickly between ships, planes, and other actors can greatly limit the damage caused when oil spill occurs. The system can securely carry a diverse array of operational information, from real-time video to system data, and remotely situated teams can work together seamlessly, coordinating systems and activities for optimal performance, safety and operational success.

Norway’s Maritime "Information Highway"
MBR used for coast guard purposes

MBR does not require an Internet connection to connect units in the network, though it is possible to transfer data from the network using Internet.

The Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (NOFO) – made up of oil industry organizations – will install the MBR system on all their oil recovery vessels. MBR is already installed on the surveillance aircraft LN-KYV, a joint initiative between the Coastal Administration, NOFO and the Norwegian Coast Guard. Three onshore base stations have also been installed, to aid in communications with ships and planes.

Kjetil Aasebø, senior advisor in the Norwegian Coastal Administration

“This is a significant improvement that allows us to communicate with all units participating in an oil recovery mission, and share the data without an Internet connection. MBR allows us to respond faster with the right actions,” says Kjetil Aasebø, senior advisor in the Coastal Administration, in a statement.

Norway’s maritime “information highway”, written by Tor Kjolberg