This information notice has been issued on January 6th, 2023, and supersedes SIN 080 & SGN 080(a).
The purpose of this notice is to inform shipowners, operators, masters, certifying authorities, and recognised organisations about Iridium Mobile Satellite Service in relation to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
Iridium GMDSS Satellite Services
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) recognised certain Iridium satellite services as meeting the necessary technical criteria of a GMDSS Satellite Service.
Iridium has a Public Service Agreement (PSA) with the International Mobile Satellite Organisation (IMSO) for GMDSS Satellite Services.
Iridium GMDSS Satellite Services are only available through an Iridium GMDSS Satellite Services terminal.
The Iridium GMDSS Satellite Service is operating globally; however, the Iridium SafetyCast service for GMDSS Maritime Safety Information (MSI) should only be relied upon for safety purposes in areas where the MSI provider, the corresponding NAVAREA or METAREA coordinator, declares themselves at Full Operational Capability (FOC) with SafetyCast.
IMO publishes the status in its Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).
Vessels operating outside NAVTEX service areas and relying upon Iridium SafetyCast for MSI should mitigate the risks of operating in an area where an MSI provider has not declared itself at FOC with SafetyCast.
Failure to mitigate these risks may be contrary to the requirements of the ISM Code.
Iridium distress alerting
Iridium GMDSS distress alerts are automatically routed to a Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) located in the United States of America, which has global geographic responsibility.
Alternatively, a user may pre-select an RCC of their choice if available.
All distress alerts will then be relayed via established communication methods to the appropriate RCC closest to the geographical location of the distress.
The service operates as part of the Global SAR Plan as published by the IMO.
Iridium plans to expand their connectivity to more RCCs; as an RCC becomes available in this service, a user may instead pre-select one of these using a ‘manual mode’.
The United Kingdom’s RCC is available to pre-select and is capable of receiving and relaying Iridium distress alerts.
Iridium GMDSS Maritime Safety Information (MSI) via Enhanced Group Calling (EGC)
NAVAREA and METAREA Coordinators are working to establish the broadcast of MSI over the Iridium SafetyCast service for automatic reception onboard.
Mariners are to remain mindful that the service will reach FOC at different times in different NAVAREAs and METAREAs. A vessel cannot assume a NAVAREA or METAREA coordinator will broadcast the MSI for their area via Iridium unless the coordinator has declared FOC or IMO publishes them as ‘operational’ in GISIS.
Vessels relying on Iridium terminals for MSI (via EGC) reception, for areas which are not at FOC or ‘operational’, should ensure that they mitigate the associated risks.
NAVAREA I, and METAREA I, have declared FOC for the Iridium SafetyCast service and this is published as ‘operational’ by the IMO.
The use of Iridium GMDSS Satellite Services needs an appropriate onboard Iridium GMDSS Satellite Services terminal.
Updates to the availability of Iridium GMDSS satellite services for GMDSS Distress Alerting and MSI will be published by the responsible bodies.
Vessels relying upon Iridium SafetyCast service for MSI should mitigate risks in areas where a corresponding MSI provider has not declared FOC with SafetyCast.