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FleetBroadband GMDSS service approved by IMO Featured

The Inmarsat-4 satellite network, used to power FleetBroadband, will also be used for GMDSS service provision The Inmarsat-4 satellite network, used to power FleetBroadband, will also be used for GMDSS service provision

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has formally approved Inmarsat’s Fleet Safety service for use as part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), in line with a recommendation from the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) made at the end of February.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The approval of the service means that operators will now be able to combine maritime safety and broadband data services in a single FleetBroadband or Fleet One terminal. Current users of these two systems will be able to access GMDSS-approved safety services, as well as other new safety features only available via Fleet Safety, by the addition of a small Maritime Safety Terminal (MST). 

Fleet Safety includes a new web-based version of SafetyNET, SafetyNET II, the international system for broadcasting and automatic reception of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) and Search and Rescue (SAR) communications.  

Inmarsat says that it also intends to create a new generation of stand-alone terminals that, in future, will incorporate both FleetBroadband and MST into a single device and deliver higher speeds, in excess of 1 Mbps.

The new GMDSS service will be delivered over the existing Inmarsat-4 constellation and the new Inmarsat-6 satellites; the first of which is due for launch in 2020. 160,000 vessels worldwide already use the Inmarsat-C stand-alone safety service, which is provided at no charge by Inmarsat.

For Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC), Inmarsat has developed RescueNET, a free web-based service linking current and future Inmarsat Safety Services, as well as increasing MRCC capabilities with real-time coordination during a search and rescue operation.

“Fleet Safety is the most significant advance in maritime safety services since the introduction of GMDSS in 1999,” said Ronald Spithout, president, Inmarsat Maritime, “and restates our commitment to maintaining and improving safety services for the maritime industry.”

The MSC has also approved a second provider for the safety system at this most recent meeting, for the first time, with recognition granted to Iridium for the introduction of GMDSS services on its network, expected to be made available in 2020. The IMO further approved the request of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), the Chinese satellite navigation system, for evaluation of its GMDSS proposal by the NCSR sub-committee.

“I would like to congratulate Iridium on achieving approval from the IMO to take their GMDSS proposals to the next stage,” said Mr Spithout, “and also congratulate BeiDou Navigation Satellite System on their successful request for GMDSS evaluation by the NCSR sub-committee.”

“We look forward to welcoming them both as GMDSS service providers in the coming years. Together, we must strive to maintain and enhance the exceptionally high standards required by the IMO and demanded by the maritime industry as the lifeline for seafarers at sea.”{/mprestriction}

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Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.


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