Clarus Networks Group, the connectivity and network specialist, has launched a new Maritime & Energy Division with the opening of their first permanent office in England.

The new Maritime & Energy Division provides wireless networks to connect the office to the ocean for merchant vessels, cruise ships, yachts, ferries, fishing vessels and offshore energy. Clarus selected Norwich as the location for the specialist division reflecting its proximity to key maritime and logistic locations, with access to skilled staff.

Many maritime operations struggle with outdated VSAT communications equipment and slow internet speeds, so Clarus uses wireless low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to deliver high speed and reliable connections. Clarus client Hughes Subsea Services installed LEO broadband to overcome traditional communications challenges for offshore vessels. Following the installation, their vessel achieved up to 300x faster internet speeds, increasing efficiency and productivity. Other Maritime clients include Valaris, P&O Ferries, Stödig Ship Management, Ineos and SSE.

Chris Schonhut, Director of Maritime & Energy, is heading up the new division. Chris joined Clarus in July, and is a seasoned professional in the maritime satcom industry, boasting a track record of delivering services on a global scale. Other new hires to the division include two dedicated Business Development Managers and Head of Delivery, specialising in supporting maritime and energy clients.

Although Clarus supports customers all over the world, this new office represents the first Clarus premise outside Scotland. The expansion comes at a period of high growth, with year to date revenue increasing 328% compared to last year and company headcount doubling. The team has plans to expand further by opening offices in Aberdeen and Milton Keynes at the start of 2024.

A key piece of technology for at sea connection is Starlink, a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite system providing high-speed, low-latency broadband internet services. Starlink Maritime users can expect download speeds of up to 220 Mbps, allowing for remote working and monitoring, plus video calls back to shore. This transforms operations, improving crew welfare, productivity and vessel management. To cope with conditions at sea, Starlink Maritime has specialised high-performance antennas designed to withstand extreme temperature and weather, ensuring that connectivity can be delivered even in the most remote, challenging environments.

Derek Phillips, Group Managing Director at The Clarus Networks Group, said: “With 70% of the world covered in water, we believe that fast, reliable connectivity should be just as accessible in the ocean as in the office. Our new Maritime & Energy Division provides tailored and managed wireless solutions, and Chris is the perfect leader, with years of maritime and advanced connectivity experience. Clarus’ expansion with our first permanent office outside Scotland reflects a high growth period and ambitious targets for the year ahead.” 

Chris Schonhut, Director of Maritime & Energy added: “Joining the Clarus team means working with the most powerful connectivity technology available. I’m already hearing feedback from Maritime clients on the benefits of superfast connection, including crew welfare, improved comms and collaboration, and enhanced reliability. Many clients have been surprised at how easy the installation process has been, reducing downtime. In my new role, I’m excited to be providing specialist support for businesses, unifying connectivity systems to support efficient operations at sea.”

Clarus also offers a bandwidth management and crew welfare connectivity platform for the maritime industry. This platform leverages LEO satellite broadband and liberates operations from the limitations of traditional VSAT. The system also allows for the bonding of multiple networks, such as Starlink and OneWeb, or integrating 4G technology, enhancing IT operation performance at sea.

The Clarus team is exhibiting at the Offshore Europe conference 2023 in Aberdeen in September, furthering connections in the region ahead of the opening of the third office next year.