Iridium Communications Inc. has announced the first seven companies it has authorised to provide its Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) services, planned for commercial introduction in the first half of 2020. The seven companies – Arion Communications, AST, Marlink, Marsat, NSSLGlobal, Satcom Global and Speedcast – will be the first in the industry to provide truly global satellite GMDSS service to mariners, and the first to offer a new choice in satellite network and equipment. Iridium® GMDSS will be the first to feature all three GMDSS services – safety voice, distress alerting and maritime safety information messaging, as well as being able to utilise Iridium’s global voice and data services – all in one cost-effective and compact terminal.
These new GMDSS service providers will play a critical role in delivering and supporting Iridium GMDSS capabilities on ships, including for fleets interested in transitioning to the truly global Iridium network. Selection as an Iridium GMDSS service provider is based on meeting a number of requirements including having 24/7 customer support, a strong global or regional footprint, a robust portfolio of maritime value-added services and an excellent track record with maritime safety and security-related services. Additional companies are expected to become Iridium GMDSS service providers in the near future.
“The maritime industry is continuing its digital transformation, and Iridium is becoming the network of choice for mariners, especially when considering the excitement for our upcoming GMDSS service introduction targeted for 2020 and the increasing popularity of the Iridium Certus® broadband service,” says Wouter Deknopper, vice president of maritime, Iridium. “Iridium already has a strong track record of providing non-SOLAS safety and security services along with our partners. These themes of safety and safety of life services are a constant throughout Iridium and all the markets we serve, making our GMDSS recognition a natural continuation of Iridium’s ongoing desire to enhance and innovate in safety at sea for mariners.”
GMDSS is a safety-of-life system created by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) designed to rescue mariners in distress while at sea. Its satellite communications capabilities are regulated by the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO). The system is partially comprised of satellite networks that feed distress information to rescue coordination centers around the world and enable the dissemination of navigational and meteorological information to vessels on the world’s waterways, facilitating safer marine travel. Iridium received recognition to provide GMDSS from the IMO in 2018 and signed a public services agreement with IMSO to act as regulator of the service in 2019.