Telecommunications on board ship

Aurora Australis travelling through light sea ice
Aurora Australis travelling easily through light sea ice near Casey (Photo: M. Boydell)

All shipboard telecommunications activities associated with the Australian Antarctic programme are performed by personnel employed by the Australian Antarctic Division. Any activities associated with the operation of the ship, such as GMDSS operation or AUSREP reporting are the responsibilities of the ship’s crew.

The AAD Telecommunications Section provides an email service on board Aurora Australis.

Emails from the outside world are sent to an address specific to the ship. The emails are stored on a server and at regular intervals are combined into a compressed data file.

A similar process takes place on the ship and three times a day the ship SCTO logs into the server at Kingston and transfers the files over the Inmarsat link. The files are then decompressed and distributed to the users’ mailboxes.

  • Emails are limited to 50Kb in size due to bandwidth limitations.
  • Voice calls are available on board but there is a large delay in speech due to the satellite latency.

Shipboard telecommunications personnel conduct SAR watch for any aircraft embarked on a voyage or operating in the vicinity.

Shipboard telecommunications personnel also provide a computer help service for voyage management and passengers, and assist voyage management with any activities related to telecommunications.