What is the GMDSS?

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is a set of protocols, equipment and communications systems (satellite and radio communications) to ensure that no matter where a ship is in distress, aid can be dispatched. Under the International Convention of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), all ships over 300 gross tonnage on international voyages must carry specified radiocommunications equipment, for sending and receiving distress and safety communications (voice, distress alerts and maritime safety information), and for general communications. Developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the GMDSS first came into use in the 1990s.

What is the GMDSS?

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is a set of protocols, equipment and communications systems (satellite and radio communications) to ensure that no matter where a ship is in distress, aid can be dispatched. Under the International Convention of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), all ships over 300 gross tonnage on international voyages must carry specified radiocommunications equipment, for sending and receiving distress and safety communications (voice, distress alerts and maritime safety information), and for general communications. Developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the GMDSS first came into use in the 1990s.

You Deserve a Choice

Since the establishment of GMDSS services, there has been only one company approved to provide the satellite component of this service. During the same time, , there have been many advances in technology and the number of vessels at sea has increased dramatically. A reliable and robust GMDSS solution is essential for all mariners, and having more than one option for satellite service will ultimately enhance safety at sea. Recognition of Iridium as a new satellite GMDSS provider will enable coverage where none exists, drive competition and supplier diversity, and reduce the costs of shipboard equipment.

You Deserve a Choice

Since the establishment of GMDSS services, there has been only one company approved to provide the satellite component of this service. During the same time, , there have been many advances in technology and the number of vessels at sea has increased dramatically. A reliable and robust GMDSS solution is essential for all mariners, and having more than one option for satellite service will ultimately enhance safety at sea. Recognition of Iridium as a new satellite GMDSS provider will enable coverage where none exists, drive competition and supplier diversity, and reduce the costs of shipboard equipment.

The Iridium Advantage

When a vessel is in rolling seas and driving rain, its crew should not need to worry about its satellite connection. Fortunately, the Iridium network is designed to work in extreme conditions at sea.

The Iridium network design is unique: 66 cross-linked satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) cover the entire globe, pole-to-pole and every point in between, all day, every day. LEO provides a stronger signal and better “look angles” than geostationary satellites, so ships stay connected, even in adverse weather and in any location – including at high latitudes where the current satellite provider’s coverage does not reach.

Iridium would in fact be the first satellite provider to provide GMDSS globally, including over Polar regions (Sea Area A4), one of the most dangerous areas of the Earth not served by satellite GMDSS today.

Today, Iridium equipment is already used on 50,000 vessels (10,000 of which are SOLAS vessels) for non-GMDSS safety and security purposes. The Iridium network is resilient and robust, and is already a trusted provider of safety and security services to maritime and aviation.

The Iridium Advantage

When a vessel is in rolling seas and driving rain, its crew should not need to worry about its satellite connection. Fortunately, the Iridium network is designed to work in extreme conditions at sea.

The Iridium network design is unique: 66 cross-linked satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) cover the entire globe, pole-to-pole and every point in between, all day, every day. LEO provides a stronger signal and better “look angles” than geostationary satellites, so ships stay connected, even in adverse weather and in any location – including at high latitudes where the current satellite provider’s coverage does not reach.

Iridium would in fact be the first satellite provider to provide GMDSS globally, including over Polar regions (Sea Area A4), one of the most dangerous areas of the Earth not served by satellite GMDSS today.

Today, Iridium equipment is already used on 50,000 vessels (10,000 of which are SOLAS vessels) for non-GMDSS safety and security purposes. The Iridium network is resilient and robust, and is already a trusted provider of safety and security services to maritime and aviation.

Status of Iridium's GMDSS Application

On May 21, 2018, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) officially recognized Iridium to provide GMDSS services. This is a significant achievement that ends a decades-long satellite industry monopoly, and for the first time will bring competition and truly global coverage, to mariners sailing any of the world’s oceans.

With this recognition secured, Iridium will now focus on efforts to implement the service. Expected to launch as early as 2020, Iridium will deliver a new GMDSS solution offering simple, reliable, and truly global voice and data GMDSS communications in a single, small-form-factor maritime mobile terminal – at a fraction of the price of competing solutions.

Status of Iridium's GMDSS Application

On May 21, 2018, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) officially recognized Iridium to provide GMDSS services. This is a significant achievement that ends a decades-long satellite industry monopoly, and for the first time will bring competition and truly global coverage, to mariners sailing any of the world’s oceans.

With this recognition secured, Iridium will now focus on efforts to implement the service. Expected to launch as early as 2020, Iridium will deliver a new GMDSS solution offering simple, reliable, and truly global voice and data GMDSS communications in a single, small-form-factor maritime mobile terminal – at a fraction of the price of competing solutions.

Initial GMDSS Product Overview & Status

Lars Thrane A/S is manufacturing the LT-3200 to utilize Iridium GMDSS service. The company’s team has extensive experience building maritime devices and  understands the complex needs of the market. The LT-3200 will offer dual commercial and safety capabilities all in one purpose-built terminal. The low-profile antenna is simple to install and will deliver Distress Voice, Distress Alert, and Maritime Safety Information all through one low cost terminal– allowing search and rescue responses to be initiated earlier, with more information.

Currently undergoing sea trials, the LT-3200 is expected to be available for the future launch of Iridium GMDSS service.

If you’d like to learn more, contact: TrueGMDSS@iridium.com

Initial GMDSS Product Overview & Status

Lars Thrane A/S is manufacturing the LT-3200 to utilize Iridium GMDSS service. The company’s team  has extensive experience building maritime devices and  understands the complex needs of the market. The LT-3200 will offer dual commercial and safety capabilities all in one purpose-built terminal. The low-profile antenna is simple to install and will deliver Distress Voice, Distress Alert, and Maritime Safety Information all through one low cost terminal– allowing search and rescue responses to be initiated earlier, with more information.

Currently undergoing sea trials, the LT-3200 is expected to be available for the future launch of Iridium GMDSS service.

If you’d like to learn more, contact: TrueGMDSS@iridium.com