IMO approves Inmarsat's Fleet Safety to support GMDSS

(LONDON) — The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has formally approved Inmarsat’s Fleet Safety solution as a new service to support the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

Shipowners and operators will now be able to combine maritime safety and broadband data services in a single FleetBroadband or Fleet One terminal provided by Inmarsat. Tens of thousands of vessels are already equipped with FleetBroadband or Fleet One.

Shipowners and operators currently deploying FleetBroadband or Fleet One will be able to access GMDSS-approved safety services, as well as a host of new innovative safety features only available via the Inmarsat Fleet Safety system, by the addition of a small maritime safety terminal (MST). Inmarsat intends to create a new generation of stand-alone terminals that, in future, will both incorporate FleetBroadband and MST into a single device and deliver higher speeds, in excess of 1 Mbps.

Fleet Safety builds on Inmarsat’s 40 years of maritime safety heritage, which has helped save the lives of thousands of seafarers. Worldwide, 160,000 vessels already use the Inmarsat-C stand-alone safety service, which is provided at no charge by Inmarsat.

The new 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.

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.

For maritime rescue coordination centers (MRCCs), Inmarsat has developed RescueNET, a free Web-based service linking current and future Inmarsat safety services, as well as increasing MRCC capabilities with enhanced, real-time coordination during a search and rescue operation.

The IMO also approved the introduction of a GMDSS service by Iridium on its network, subject to Iridium passing a number of performance tests. The Iridium GMDSS solution is consequently expected to be made available in the early 2020s. The IMO further approved the request of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), a Chinese satellite navigation system, for evaluation of its GMDSS proposal by the IMO’s Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) subcommittee.

By Professional Mariner Staff