Irridium Launches World's First Truly Global, Real-Time Maritime Emergency Service

Date:Dec 17, 2020


Iridium Communications Inc. today announced the launch of Iridium® Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) services, a historic achievement for this project. The system began operation on December 11 (Friday). The Iridium system provides seafarers with real-time emergency response and rescue services for the first time in history. The service is available all over the world. For the time being, no other maritime emergency response system can meet the coverage and real-time communication requirements of Iridium GMDSS services. This project was announced at a virtual press conference held by Iridium leadership, industry officials and experts.

GMDSS is an internationally regulated service and is governed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. It provides life-saving assistance to seafarers in distress, and is now equipped with equipment on more than 60,000 ships, many of which have multiple docks. Iridium's service function is very similar to the international SOS button, but different from other options. It has standard real-time emergency voice call service, distress alert (SOS button) and maritime safety information. Iridium can achieve true global coverage.

Iridium’s GMDSS service is built on the company’s $3 billion upgraded satellite network, which was completed in 2019 and utilizes the company’s valuable L-band satellite spectrum. This spectrum can be used as a meteorologically adaptive supplement to other satellite broadband functions on ships, aircraft and vehicles, and is also a requirement for GMDSS terminals on SOLAS-class ships. The launch of Iridium’s GMDSS service has more than 1.4 million users worldwide, including today’s thousands of communication systems on ships and airplanes, reflecting the company’s commitment and tradition that about 85% of the world lack or lack reliability The service environment provides safer cell phone coverage.


Participated in the press conference were Iridium CEO Matt Desch (Matt Desch) speech; IMO Maritime Security Director Heike Deggim; International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) Director Captain Moin Ahmed; Maersk Captain and Senior Marine The expert captain Brian Soberg Petersen and the head of duty and senior search and rescue officer of the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center (RCCNZ) David Wilson.

Iridium CEO Matt Desch said: "This is a historic moment for the satellite and maritime industries." "Not every day is news announcing the release of a service, it will definitely Save lives and bring innovation to this important maritime service."

IMO Maritime Safety Director Heike Deggim said: "On behalf of the International Maritime Organization, I would like to express my sincere congratulations on Iridium's announcement of the official launch of the GMDSS service."

The Director General of IMDS, Captain Moin Ahmed, head of the GMDSS system, provided additional information about the Iridium identification process, noting: “In general, our formal evaluation of Iridium has taken more than four years, and Iridium has taken every step of the way. All have successfully proved that its safety voice, distress alert and IridiumSafetyCast SM marine environment broadcast not only meet all the requirements of IMO, but also exceed their requirements in many cases. I am honored to participate in this event and this historicity. time."

Maersk Captain and Senior Maritime Expert Brian Soberg Petersen shared his experience during the test and said: "At Maersk, we are very satisfied with the functions of the Iridium system and are currently analyzing our future communication plans. We believe in Iridium GMDSS. It can replace our existing system and also serve as a backup data connection function."

From the perspective of the Rescue Coordination Center, Dave Wilson, head of duty and senior search and rescue officer at RCC New Zealand, talked about their experience in the new system. "The new system has played an important role in the development and testing of IridiumGMDSS. Whether it is from shore to ship or from ship to shore, this new system can enhance the technological advancement of GMDSS. Our rescue team IridiumGMDSS coordinated with New Zealand The center and the New Zealand research crew who have been assisting with the test have left a deep impression."

As the successor to the security measures originally established after the sinking of the RMS Titanic, the technical capabilities of GMDSS have now reached a new peak. Its voice, data and maritime safety information (MSI) can be obtained through an affordable terminal. The first terminal available is Lars Thrane LT-3100S, which combines three key GMDSS services: distress alert, distress voice and MSI. It can be used for main and emergency ship communications. Combining these three services on a cost-effective terminal is the industry’s first, making GMDSS easier to use for smaller vessels that may not be able to afford the equipment.

Desch continued: “When we started this process, there was no process. No company has tried to achieve what we have achieved now. In cooperation with IMO, the US Coast Guard and IMSO, this is a system that allows Iridium to provide GMDSS services. Must be invented."

Desch said: "Developing and certifying the GMDSS system is very challenging, so we don't want to do the least amount of work or things we have done before. We want to make our system more accessible, affordable and feature-rich."