Classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) has reminded shipowners that the Inmarsat Fleet 77 satellite communication service will close on 1 December 2020. This follows the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) informing the IMO of the scheduled closure in 2015. The service supports Inmarsat Fleet 77 ship earth stations (SES), which are compliant with the specifications of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
Although the use of Inmarsat Fleet 77 SES is not mandatory under the GMDSS requirements of SOLAS, some flags states have agreed to their use on vessels, as meeting part of the carriage requirement of SOLAS Chapter IV Radiocommunications, or applicable code requirements.
Inmarsat Fleet 77 SES still in use on LR Classed vessels will need to be replaced to meet statutory compliance with the applicable GMDSS requirements. The replacement arrangements should be installed, surveyed and reflected on Certification prior to 1 December 2020. To establish if Inmarsat Fleet 77 SES are provided for statutory compliance (or as an owner option), owners should review the vessel’s Radio Certificate, GMDSS Record and Form R (or equivalent).
Inmarsat on its website suggests that the options for Fleet 77 users are to switch to one of the following systems:
- Fleet One
- FleetBroadband 250 or 500
- Fleet Xpress
IInmarsat says it is committed to providing safety at sea and will continue to offer and support its Inmarsat-C service. Inmarsat’s Fleet Safety, its next generation satellite safety service delivered over FleetBroadband and Fleet One, has also received formal GMDSS recognition by the IMO.