Iridium launches GMDSS maritime safety system

By on 16 December, 2020

Iridium claims Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) covers the entire globe with real-time connectivity.

Online from Friday December 11, Iridium says that no other maritime emergency response system provides the coverage and real-time communications capability that its new service offers.

“This is a historic moment in both the satellite and maritime industries,” said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium.

“It is not every day that you get to announce the launch of a service that will most certainly save lives and is bringing innovation to this important maritime service.”

The service is based on Iridium’s upgraded satellite network, completed in 2019. It leverages the constellation’s L-band spectrum, and is an an internationally regulated service, governed by the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.

GMSS operates like an SOS button service, but also provides real-time emergency calling and access to maritime safety information (MSI) as standard, accessible through a single terminal.

Distress calls are routed through the satellite to a rescue coordination centre (RCC), automatically followed by a distress phone call from the vessel to the RCC, allowing them to glean the nature of the emergency, alert nearby vessels and scramble local search and rescue authorities.

Speaking at the launch event, Captain Moin Ahmed, Director General of IMSO, regulator of the GMDSS system, congratulated Iridium on the formal launch of the service following the completion of the qualification process.

“Overall, our formal evaluation of Iridium took more than four years, and at each step Iridium successfully demonstrated that its Safety Voice, Distress Alert and Iridium SafetyCastSM maritime environment broadcasts not only met all IMO requirements but in many cases exceeded them. I am proud to be a part of this event and this historic moment,” he said.

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