Over the past 12 months, we have focused on product improvements and developments, as well as investing in our team by bringing onboard new account managers and customer support staff to improve our customer’s experience.
Two of our new team members include Maura Massana and Dirk Macre.
Maura joined Pole Star at the beginning of 2019 with many years of maritime and satellite experience, having worked at CLS Group, Space Cargo Services, and Weatherdock. She is multilingual, speaking English, Catalan, Spanish and French, and now manages government relations at Pole Star.
Dirk has been with Pole Star for over 5 years, however in 2019 he moved from our support function to the Government & Maritime team as LATAM Regional Account Manager & Project Manager for Pamana AMP, bringing with him a wealth of technical product knowledge.
- The summer of 2019 was an exciting period for Pole Star. We secured a renewal of our contract to operate the Canadian LRIT National Data Centre (NDC) services until 2026. Pole Star and the Canadian Coast Guard have enjoyed a strong working relationship since the beginning of the international LRIT program in 2008.
- Ben Minichino, Global Head of Government & Maritime, accompanied the General Director for the General Maritime Directorate of Albania to meetings in the US. They discussed Albania's actions and accomplishments towards enhancing the security of their maritime remit and seafarers, alongside the country's first entry into LRIT for their flag, which we are supporting through the provision of LRIT NDC/ASP services.
- We were awarded a contract with North Caspian Operating Company N.V. (NCOC) in November, to provide marine vessel tracking services until 2024.
- We also secured a three year renewal for our LRIT NDC services for the Philippines flag in the same month.
- A part of Queensland’s Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017-2027, there is a policy mandate requiring VTUs to be fitted by operators of net, crab, and line boats (including tenders) by 1st January 2019 (and all other commercial fishing boats by 1 January 2020). In support, Pole Star provide dual AFMA type approved / Queensland authorised VTUs, including Orbcomm / Skywave IDP690, IDP800, and ST6100, along with associated VMS reporting services. This year, our Queensland Fisheries program has surpassed 500 vessels and continues to grow, so to better support this initiative, we are currently testing new hardware technologies.
What lies ahead?
Maritime is all about regulation in 2020, with the IMO’s new “Sulphur 2020” regulation coming into effect at the start of the new year. This regulation will reduce the sulphur limit in fuel oil from 3.50% m/m to 0.50% m/m, creating a 77% drop in the overall sulphur emissions from ships. This will decrease annual emissions by approximately 8.5 million metric tonnes and ultimately protect the environment, while improving air quality, particularly around ports. The IMO will also prohibit ships from carrying fuel oil with a sulphur content above 0.50%, if its purpose is for combustion for propulsion or operations on board, in support of full global compliance.
While this won’t have a direct impact on the majority of our shipping & offshore clients, our soon-to-be-released enhanced maritime domain awareness (MDA) feature-set will now assist with enhanced monitoring capabilities, enabling best management practice.
This new MDA product will be a single window experience allowing users to manage their entire maritime domain, using blended LRIT & MDA data while providing an integrated maritime data solution for Situational Awareness, Homeland Security, VMS and Fisheries Monitoring Centres. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks regarding our new MDA product.
We are also witnessing a regulatory landscape that is more complex than ever, with intense scrutiny on flag administrations by UN and US regulatory bodies. As such, enhanced regulatory compliance features for sanctions enforcement are now being requested by multiple government clients. This will continue to shape the types of offerings we provide our clients.
All in all, 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year, not only for Pole Star, but the entire maritime industry.