VAR Spotlight: PT Megah Surya Persada

Tackling transparency in fishing

Indonesia-based PT Megah Surya Persada (MSP) uses ORBCOMM’s satellite service to bring transparency and regulatory compliance to the local fishing industry through vessel tracking.

Indonesia is one of the largest fish producers in the world, making maritime fishing a vital part of the economy. Consequently, the long-term sustainability of this sector is at risk through overfishing by unauthorised vessels. Indonesia has pledged to make its fishing industry sustainable by 2025, as the overwhelming majority of fishing boats are drawing their catch from areas that are overfished and overcrowded.

Commercial fishing largely occurs ‘out of sight and over the horizon’, making this industry particularly vulnerable to criminal activities such as drug trafficking (where illicit activity is carried out under the guise of fishing trips), enforced labour and human trafficking. Furthermore, increasingly rough weather and sea conditions can pose a risk to the safety of these vessels and their crews.

Since 2008, the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Kementerian Kelautan dan Perikanan (KKP), has required all vessels over 30 gross tonnes to be equipped with a vessel monitoring system (VMS), allowing the country’s maritime authority to perform vessel tracking.

Robust Vessel Tracking Solution

PT Megah Surya Persada (MSP) is a specialist company providing real-time marine vessel monitoring systems. It has been an active supplier to the Indonesian fishing sector since 2013 and an ORBCOMM value-added reseller since 2015. The company offers a portfolio of VMS devices and services that use ORBCOMM technology to perform vessel tracking and ensure compliance with local regulations for about 2,000 Indonesian fishing ships.

“Our vessel tracking products are very well known in Indonesia for being robust and boosting vessel safety,” says MSP Business Development Manager Hansen Awang, adding that in addition to fishing vessels, the company has seen demand for their product from tugs, barges and an increasing number of commercial vessels.

MSP uses ORBCOMM’s fully programmable satellite terminals to create a range of VMS devices that are leased to the fishing community, with just a single payment required at the start of each year. The equipment uses ORBCOMM’s two-way satellite service to track the location and movements of individual fishing vessels.

The devices, which must be activated by fishing vessels prior to departing the port as per KKP regulations, are hermetically sealed to prevent water ingress. They’re equipped with a backup battery to continue transmission despite power cuts, as well as an emergency button. This means that in the event of a crisis, the crew are able to alert the authorities, and be visible to nearby vessels that can provide search and rescue services.

There are also transparency benefits to be had by the operators themselves. “There are times when a vessel owner wants to know the condition of their fishing vessels and where these vessels are fishing at the moment. This information can be easily accessed from the KKP using its ‘Salmon’ application, so the owner can manage their fleet more efficiently,” Awang explains.

Data Insight

The ORBCOMM/MSP VMS is able to relay information about course and speed, as well as catch reports. Neither MSP nor ORBCOMM analyse the data collected by these devices. The information relayed by the ORBCOMM solution is only accessible to the operator of the vessel and the KKP.

The KKP has used this data to reduce overfishing and improve the environmental regeneration of fish stocks, as well as to mitigate harmful practises like human trafficking and drug smuggling through identification of vessels with suspicious operation patterns.

However, the versatility of the ORBCOMM terminal, which boasts advanced configurable apps and scripts, provides the potential for savvy users to integrate data gathering to optimise vessel operations, identify inefficiencies for improvement and to lower carbon emissions.

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