Whales, collisions with ships and Telecom26’s maritime connectivity service
12 April 2023

Whales, collisions with ships and Telecom26’s maritime connectivity service

12 April 2023

Our team of maritime connectivity experts has been discussing this article Thousands of whales are being killed by passing ships. Can we save them?

Whales are under increasing threat from collisions with the growing number of commercial ships and tankers on our seas. According to the article, “global data is limited, but if we extrapolate from regional studies…the annual number (of whales killed) is “shockingly large – thousands to tens of thousands”. 

According to this piece, a colony of blue whales that live off the coast of Sri Lanka is at particular risk as:

“The whales’ habitat overlaps with a major shipping artery that connects east Asia to the Suez Canal, leaving them vulnerable to ship strikes and noise pollution.

On an average day the whales face off against a relentless barrage of about 200 ships, many of them container ships or oil tankers”, which “can’t suddenly change their course if they see a whale or a fishing boat in their path”.

Fortunately, there are numerous projects that are using the latest technologies to try and minimise fatalities.

Whale Safe is a “technology-based mapping and analysis tool displaying whale and ship data for the Santa Barbara Channel in the US with the goal of helping to prevent fatal ship collisions with whales”.

Our team thought that if we could get one of Telecom26’s Global IoT SIM cards into the back of a whale, then it would be very easy to track their movements as they cross borders. You can see a tracking device on a real-life whale here.

Tracking Whales with our always-available maritime connectivity network and Global IoT SIM Cards

Providing always-available connectivity for vessels of all shapes and sizes is one of Telecom26’s core services.  Whether it’s a ship travelling from China to Europe laden with containers, or a sunny Sunday on a yacht, our Global Roaming Service - which uses maritime connectivity - is all that’s needed to stay connected. And, it can help support marine conservation efforts too.

In this earlier blog we put forward our theory that for the most part, vessels spend time within sight of land during a voyage. The same applies for whales who apparently stick close to the shore when they’re migrating.

The importance of knowing where vessels - and whales - travel is simple: while they hug the coast then they can pick up the signals of on-shore cellular networks to provide backhaul connectivity for data applications and services rather than using expensive satellite links.  Under some conditions, cellular signals reach as far as 30km from the coast which means reducing dependency on satellite for data backhaul can be very cost-effective. You can read more in this earlier blog - Using Land-based mobile networks for nearshore data coverage.

Telecom26’s “Near-to- Shore” Global IoT SIM Service

Our Global IoT SIMs provide a very simple way to provide data to all onboard devices via cellular data links.  By onboard devices we mean Wi-Fi routers, container sensors, IoT networks and any system process that needs to connect to the internet, to a remote server or monitor.

Our Global IoT SIMs can be inserted into any GSM (2G, 3G, 4G and 5G) router, which we can also supply, as required.

Most importantly, only a single SIM is required – there is no need to swap SIMs when moving between different regions and countries.

Our Global IoT SIMs can access any terrestrial network. Not all networks are equally available – some offer better coverage in some locations than others. And, every country has its own range of terrestrial network operators. This means that, as a vessel moves along the coast, different networks may be available.

Because Near-to-Shore SIMs can connect to any of these, coverage can be maintained. This applies as vessels and whales cross international borders.

To learn more our paper - Nearshore Services A short guide to nearshore cellular services - can be downloaded here.

And, if you’d like to discuss how our maritime connectivity and maritime cellular communications services can help your fleet – as well as the whales -  then please get in touch.

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