Iridium Communications has taken another step toward introducing a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) service after receiving formal verification
The US-headquartered satellite owner received a letter of compliance from the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO), confirming Iridium’s constellation meets the operational and technical requirements of IMO.
Iridium chief executive Matt Desch received the letter from IMSO director general Captain Moin Ahmed on 13 January. This formally authorises Iridium to provide satellite GMDSS service for emergency and safety communications at sea.
This comes as the IMO Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue begins its latest round of meetings in London. During these meetings, delegates will discuss advances in modernising GMDSS and other safety and security communications. There will also be discussions covering e-navigation and sea traffic lanes.
Iridium’s GMDSS service provides shipping companies with a choice of both network and equipment for this critical emergency service.
GMDSS helps to rescue mariners in emergency situations. It is used on board in the initial alert of a serious maritime incident and can be used for communications during the emergency and rescue.
Iridium’s constellation of low Earth orbit satellites can be used for GMDSS communications as another option to Inmarsat’s geostationary satellites.
Capt Ahmed said Iridium completed a thorough evaluation to become a recognised mobile satellite system in GMDSS.
“This is a historic moment for public safety in the maritime community globally,” he said. “The addition of new providers, such as Iridium, for GMDSS services can help to create safer seas for all mariners,” said Capt Ahmed.
It took more than four years of evaluating Iridium’s infrastructure, starting in 2013, and demonstrating its emergency communications services.
“Recognition of Iridium marks the start of a new era in GMDSS and enhances the integrity and global coverage of safety services for seafarers across the world, including in the polar regions,” said Capt Ahmed.
Iridium will work with its partners around the world towards rolling out its GMDSS service throughout H1 2020.
“This is a monumental achievement for Iridium, and one that took years of hard work and dedication,” said Mr Desch. “The maritime industry is recognising that our network possesses the ability to make GMDSS an even more robust system and extend its coverage to the entire planet.”