Steam Packet | Starlink connection - helping the Manxman’s crew call home

The Steam Packet shipping company wanted to keep in touch with their brand new ferry as it sailed halfway around the world to home - but traditional connectivity options weren’t working. They contacted Venn Telecom to see if Starlink could provide a solution.

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The Isle of Man’s Steam Packet Company knows a thing or two about the value of connection. The world’s oldest continually operating passenger shipping company, their ferry services have provided the vital service of connecting the Isle of Man since 1830, carrying over 600,000 passengers annually.

When they commissioned a brand new ferry – Manxman - from South Korea in July 2020, they knew keeping it and their crew connected on its journey home would be a challenge.

The crews’ usual journeys are between the Isle of Man and Ireland or the UK, travelling 80 nautical miles in around 3 hours. The journey from Korea is over 10,000 sea miles, with approximately 23 days at sea and six different ports of call, before Manxman arrives home for the first time.

Calling home needs reliable maritime connectivity

For a crew reporting in on a new boat, and used to working within hours of their home, it presented a challenge. Traditional connectivity options were not working out, says Thomas Turner, Relief Master of the company. “When you need to solve the issue of connectivity at sea, VSAT (very small aperture terminal) simply doesn’t fulfil requirements.”

They came to Venn looking for a solution. Our team were ready to help them explore how new SpaceX technology could work for them in their maritime setting, and assist in getting the dishes to South Korea with their shipping agent.

But, once installed, would the Starlink connection do the job? The answer so far has been a resounding yes.

“No traditional VSAT service compares to the LEO system provided by SpaceX. Starlink has so far proven itself to be rock solid.”

It may be 10,000 back miles to the Isle of Man but family and friends are just a moment away. “Our crew have been very impressed with Starlink so far. It’s provided a rapid ‘home like’ experience with connectivity – the crew are able to call home as if on land.”

Turning a connectivity challenge into a live webcam opportunity

The Starlink connection is so solid that Manxman are using it to stay in the public eye. They have created a blog and live webcam to keep its customers, fellow Islanders and friends up-to-date and provide an instantaneous captain’s eye view as Manxman traverses the globe.

“We are providing a live webcam feed to the general public for watching the vessels progress back to the Isle of Man. All made possible with Starlink!”

Manxman will be docking on the South Coast of England at the end of the delivery voyage in order for some final fixtures and fittings, with expected arrival in the Isle of Man towards the end of June. 

You can follow Manxman’s story and voyage (facilitated by that strong Starlink connection!) through these links:

  1. Live webcam and map:
  2. Captain's Log: the journey home:
  3. Updates on Instagram:

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