Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) and partner Lars Thrane have unveiled the Lars Thrane (LT) 3100S terminal designed to operate on the Iridium network for Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) vessel carriage requirements, with service targeted to launch in January 2020.
This is the first terminal designed to provide truly global GMDSS services and is the first to be offered after the International Maritime Organization’s decision to recognize Iridium as just the second-ever satellite provider for this critical service.
With the LT-3100S, mariners will have an all-in-one system that can meet Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention vessel carriage requirements, while also serving as a primary or companion communications system. Unlike the competitive alternative, this small and compact new terminal will offer GMDSS services, along with voice, texting, and data services with a built in GNSS/GPS receiver. The multi-service terminal also supports the Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), Anti-Piracy/Citadel Communications and Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT).
For decades, only Inmarsat was authorized to provide satellite GMDSS services, limiting coverage and stifling innovation. The addition of Iridium as a GMDSS provider will extend the coverage of this service to 100 percent of the planet’s waterways, including the dangerous A4 regions (Arctic and Antarctic) for the first time. In April, Iridium and the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) announced the signing of a Public Services Agreement (PSA) which detailed the conditions for IMSO to act as regulator and maintain oversight of Iridium's Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) services. This was a key step in the process towards IMSO issuing Iridium a Letter of Compliance, stating that the company is ready to begin providing its GMDSS service. Currently in the implementation phase of preparing for GMDSS service introduction, Iridium anticipates providing service as of January 2020.
Peter Thrane, CEO of Lars Thrane, said the recognition of the Iridium satellite network to provide GMDSS services fundamentally changes the status quo of the maritime industry. The company immediately recognized the unique capabilities Iridium offers and wanted to make sure the firm provided the very first terminal available for Iridium GMDSS. The LEO Iridium network with interconnected satellites allows the company to offer multiple services throughout all the world’s waterways in a single, compact terminal.
Kyle Hurst, Director of Maritime Safety and Security Services for Iridium added that with all three GMDSS services in one low-cost, absolutely global and compact terminal, more mariners will be able to take advantage of these lifesaving capabilities. The navigational and meteorological warnings from the terminals, Maritime Safety Information broadcasts, will help mariners try to avoid danger. If they cannot, the new terminals’ Distress Alert and Distress Voice features will be able to help. This delivers on a key Iridium maritime goal: "using our unique technology to make the oceans safer."
Wouter Deknopper, VP and GM of Maritime for Iridium, noted that the new GMDSS terminal from Lars Thrane is unlike any single option the industry has ever had and can meet all bridge communications needs for any size vessel, not just SOLAS. A new era of choice, truly global coverage, innovation and reliability has come to the maritime industry with Iridium GMDSS and the firm's recently launched L-band broadband service, Iridium Certus®.