Shipping’s international regulator the IMO is attending the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19), in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with the message that the integrity of maritime radiocommunication services needs to be protected.
Terrestrial and satellite radiocommunications are essential for routine communications and navigation and for ensuring the effective operation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), to protect lives at sea.
With many demands on radio bandwidth, the IMO believes that the use of radio spectrum allocated to existing (and future) maritime radiocommunication services must be safeguarded. An important item on the WRC-19 agenda is to support the introduction of the Iridium satellite system in the GMDSS, by taking regulatory measures by 1 January 2020, to ensure full protection and availability of the frequency bands to be used by Iridium for the provision of GMDSS services.
Other important items on the agenda for the month long conference are the regulation of autonomous maritime radio devices, and modifications of the Radio Regulations to include new spectrum allocations to the maritime mobile satellite service to enable a new VHF data exchange system (VDES) satellite component.