Broadband/Connectivity Maritime News

Iridium formally authorised to provide GMDSS service 

Iridium can now provide a safety system for the mariners in emergency situations via global coverage and network in a cost-effective way. 

Iridium Communications has received a Letter of Compliance signed by the International Mobile Satellite Organisation (IMSO), stating it has positively verified the operational and technical requirements as requested by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for Iridium to provide Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) service.

The Letter of Compliance was formally presented to Iridium CEO Matt Desch by the Director-General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed, during a ceremony at Iridium’s headquarters on January 13, 2020.

GMDSS is a safety of life system that helps rescue mariners in emergency situations while at sea.  IMSO serves as a regulator for the system, which partially comprises satellite networks that transmit distress information to rescue coordination centres around the world, in addition to the dissemination of navigational and meteorological data to vessels at sea.

The new Iridium GMDSS terminals will combine the key three GMDSS services – distress alert, distress voice and Maritime Safety Information.  These terminals can provide both normal and emergency communications, including Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), Anti-Piracy/Citadel Communications, and Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT).

All of this will be provided in a cost-effective way, making the terminals more affordable for all sizes of vessels, including those that are not required to be GMDSS equipped, such as smaller fishing boats and yachts.

Commenting on the authorisation, Matt Desch, Iridium CEO, said: “This is a monumental achievement for Iridium and one that took years of hard work and dedication. The maritime industry is recognizing that our network possesses the unique ability to make GMDSS an even more robust system and extend its coverage to the entire planet. We are dedicated to finding innovative new ways to facilitate safer marine travel.”

Captain Moin Ahmed, Director General of IMSO, added: “This is a historic moment for public safety in the maritime community globally. The addition of new providers, such as Iridium, for GMDSS services can help to create safer seas for all mariners. I am pleased to issue Iridium the ‘Letter of Compliance’ that officially makes the company the second recognized mobile satellite system in the GMDSS. My organisation and I take this opportunity to congratulate Iridium for their commitment and contribution to the safety of mariners and their passengers at sea. We look forward to continuing to work with Iridium.”