Iridium Signs Agreement with IMSO to Offer Maritime Services
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 | Comments

Iridium Communications signed a public services agreement (PSA) with the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO), which details the conditions for IMSO to act as regulator and maintain oversight of Iridium’s Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) services.

The agreement is a key step toward IMSO issuing Iridium a letter of compliance, stating that the company is ready to begin providing its GMDSS service. The GMDSS is a safety-of-life system created by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) designed to rescue mariners in distress while at sea. It is comprised of satellite communications systems feeding distress information into a network of rescue coordination centers around the world that orchestrate related search and rescue efforts.

In May 2018, the IMO adopted a statement of recognition that the Iridium network met the requirements needed to provide GMDSS service. For decades, only one company was allowed to provide satellite GMDSS service, limiting coverage reach, capability and choice, an Iridium statement said.

“Iridium is on target to complete development of its GMDSS system before the end of 2019, and our first terminal, in development by Lars Thrane, can be installed by any vessel as soon as it’s type approved,” said Bryan Hartin, executive vice president, Iridium. “However, SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) Convention class vessels will need to wait until 2020 for that Iridium terminal to meet its mandated GMDSS carriage requirement, which is when the needed amendments made to the SOLAS Convention take effect. All non-SOLAS class vessels can begin using the service as soon as it is available, and anyone will be able to begin use of the new terminal for general communications needs.”

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