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Inmarsat-C celebrates 25 years

Inmarsat has marked the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Inmarsat-C satellite communications system by highlighting the continuing relevance of the maritime safety network, which handled more than 600 distress alerts from vessels in need during 2015.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The continued prevalence of Inmarsat-C equipment across the merchant fleet is a legacy of the decision made by IMO to require all ships of more than 300 gross tons to be fitted with a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) to help safeguard lives at sea.

Inmarsat is currently the only safety services provider in the world approved to deliver GMDSS under International Convention for the Safety of Life At Sea requirements. Communication services that take place as part of this remit are provided free of charge.

“Over its lifetime, GMDSS has made the biggest single contribution to maritime safety since the advent of radio in 1899. We are immensely proud of Inmarsat C’s unparalleled contribution to GMDSS in the last 25 years. Thousands of lives have been saved and countless ships rescued as a result,” said Ronald Spithout, Inmarsat Maritime president.

The Inmarsat-C service connects vessels in distress with Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) around the world, using priority channels over a network that is required to maintain 99.9 per cent availability. Today, approximately 100,000 vessels are fitted with the technology.

Inmarsat says it is continuing to invest in the development of further safety services, with Inmarsat-C and Mini C terminals now also supporting safetyNET, the satellite-based global maritime broadcast service providing meteorological and navigation warnings, plus search and rescue broadcasts.

SafetyNET II, due for launch shortly, will also provide enhanced functionality available to maritime safety information providers to broadcast safety messages.

“Safety at sea forms the foundation of our organisation; it’s in our DNA. We have been working tirelessly to provide critical always-on, reliable communications infrastructure that seafarers, vessels and nations depend on to help save lives at sea,” said Mr Spithout.

“In 2020 we expect to launch latest generation satellite constellation – Inmarsat-6; continuing our 35-plus year commitment to L-band and safety services.”{/mprestriction}

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