[SatNews] Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) has announced that its application to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the provision of mobile satellite communications in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) was reviewed by the IMO Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR).
The application will now proceed to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its next meeting in November, before advancing to a group of experts for comprehensive technical and operational evaluation. Overwhelmingly, the delegates stated support for the United States position to advance Iridium's application to the next stage for evaluation. Final approval will be up to the Maritime Safety Committee, following review of the experts' report by NCSR, which is expected by mid-2016.
Iridium's constellation of 66 Low Earth Orbit (LEO), inter-connected satellites operates as a fully-meshed network and provides robust and reliable coverage everywhere on Earth—including Polar regions—where demand for reliable voice and data communications is on the rise as shipping and trade routes continue to expand into these remote waters. Iridium will start deploying its second generation constellation (Iridium NEXT), in 2015, offering greater capacity, bandwidth and data speeds, as well as backwards compatibility for existing products and services in the market.
In anticipation of IMO recognition, Iridium is working with established maritime communications equipment manufacturers for the production and certification of GMDSS terminals that use the Iridium network, along with Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers and service providers for the provision of maritime safety communications. Once approved, the shipboard terminals will meet both the GMDSS and operational communications needs of a vessel, giving the industry the option of a single, affordable communications terminal to satisfy both safety and business communications wherever they operate. Expected to be available before the end of 2015, GMDSS terminals using the Iridium network are designed to have an operational longevity of nearly 20 years, eliminating the need for vessel owners and operators to purchase new equipment every few years.
"This is a victory for Iridium and the maritime industry," said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. "The overwhelming support for our application to provide the industry an alternative and equally capable option for GMDSS services is a testament to the value and benefit the Iridium® network can provide to maritime safety." This is particularly important for coverage of Polar regions, where the incumbent GMDSS provider is not able to provide service.
The Iridium Communications infosite is located at http://www.iridium.com/default.aspx
For further information regarding the IMO, please visit http://www.imo.org/Pages/home.aspx