Inmarsat receives IMO approval to deliver most significant advance in maritime safety in a generation

Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter

23 May 2018


The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has formally approved Inmarsat’s ‘Fleet Safety’ solution as a new service to support the Global Maritime Distress & Safety System (GMDSS).

Inmarsat Safety

Ship owners and operators currently deploying FleetBroadband or Fleet One will be able to access GMDSS approved safety services, as well as a host of new innovative safety features only available via the Inmarsat Fleet Safety system, by the addition of a small Maritime Safety Terminal (MST). Inmarsat intends to create a new generation of stand-alone terminals that, in future, will both incorporate FleetBroadband and MST into a single device and deliver higher speeds, in excess of 1Mbps.

‘Fleet Safety’ builds on Inmarsat’s 40-years of maritime safety heritage, which has helped save the lives of thousands of seafarers. 160,000 vessels worldwide already use the Inmarsat-C stand-alone safety service, which is provided at no charge by Inmarsat.

The new service will be delivered over the existing Inmarsat-4 constellation and the new Inmarsat-6 satellites; the first of which is due for launch in 2020.

Fleet Safety includes a new web-based version of SafetyNET, SafetyNET II, the international system for broadcasting and automatic reception of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) and Search and Rescue (SAR) communications.

For Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC), Inmarsat has developed RescueNET, a free web-based service linking current and future Inmarsat Safety Services, as well as increasing MRCC capabilities with enhanced, real-time coordination during a search and rescue operation.

“Fleet Safety is the most significant advance in maritime safety services since the introduction of GMDSS in 1999,” said Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime, “and restates our commitment to maintaining and improving safety services for the maritime industry.”

The IMO also approved the introduction of a GMDSS service by Iridium on its network, subject to Iridium passing a number of stringent performance tests. The Iridium GMDSS solution is consequently expected to be made available in the early 2020s. The IMO further approved the request of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), a Chinese satellite navigation system, for evaluation of its GMDSS proposal by the IMO’s Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) sub-committee.

“I would like to congratulate Iridium on achieving approval from the IMO to take their GMDSS proposals to the next stage,” said Ronald Spithout, President of Inmarsat Maritime, “and also congratulate BeiDou Navigation Satellite System on their successful request for GMDSS evaluation by the NCSR sub-committee. We look forward to welcoming them both as GMDSS service providers in the coming years.

“Together, we must strive to maintain and enhance the exceptionally high standards required by the IMO and demanded by the maritime industry as the lifeline for seafarers at sea.”