Iridium and Inmarsat FleetBroadband GMDSS services approved by IMO

Iridium announced last week that the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) agreed to recognize that the Iridium network meets all the criteria of the IMO needed to provide mobile satellite services in the GMDSS, and to adopt the “Statement of Recognition” proposed by the United States. This is a significant achievement after decades of satellite industry monopoly in which only one company was authorized to provide satellite GMDSS service. Until now Inmarsat was the only provider of GMDSS-approved satellite communication services. Its Inmarsat C and Fleet 77 services have been keeping 1.5 million seafarers safe at sea every day since the inception of GMDSS in 1999.

Iridium formally began the process to become a recognized GMDSS mobile satellite service provider in April 2013 and now plans to begin providing GMDSS service in early 2020.

LT-3200 terminal to utilize Iridium GMDSS service, manufactured by Lars Thrane A/S, is currently undergoing sea trials. 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. The LT-3200 is expected to be available for the future launch of Iridium GMDSS service.

IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has also formally approved Inmarsat’s Fleet Safety service for use as part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), in line with a recommendation from the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) made at the end of February. Fleet Safety is the next generation satellite safety service delivered over existing Inmarsat FleetBroadband and Fleet One terminals.

What is the GMDSS?

The GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress Safety System) is an international safety system, which uses satellite and terrestrial technology and ship-board radio systems to prevent accidents from happening and to automatically alert the rescue authorities and nearby vessels quickly in an emergency.

Under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, cargo ships of 300GRT and upwards and all passenger ships on international voyages must be equipped with satellite and radio equipment that conforms to international standards. More information: and