European Space Agency

Best Safety Service of the Year*

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New solution for seafarers makes waves 

 Enhancing safety of lives at sea – 1.6 million seafarers rely on Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems. Credit: Inmarsat

The International Maritime Organisation’s Maritime Safety Committee has formally recognised Inmarsat’s ‘Fleet Safety’ solution as a new service to support the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System; and the associated Maritime Safety Terminal has won a prestigious award (*Safety at Sea Awards 2018).

Technology’s vital role in maritime safety

Since its introduction, the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) has been responsible for saving many thousands of lives at sea, and is the most important development in maritime safety since the advent of radio in 1899.

Satellite-based technologies play an integral role in maritime safety, where reliable, high-speed data communication is essential; and where all newly proposed safety solutions and services are subject to rigorous approval procedures.

British satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat have just taken the technology to the next level with the introduction of the ‘Maritime Safety Terminal’ (MST); a software-based solution with advanced safety features for captains and crew to interface more effectively with rescue services. 

Developed by the company with the support of ESA’s ARTES Competitiveness & Growth (Product Phase) programme, the second-generation terminal is a key element of Inmarsat’s ‘Fleet Safety’ service. This has now been officially recognised by the IMO to support the GMDSS. Such formal recognition is a rare achievement, and the new service is being applauded as playing a pivotal role in modernising the GMDSS.

Plain sailing through safety checks

The service has had a 100 per cent pass rate on all safety checks and already has two awards under its belt. The judging panel for The Safety4Sea technology Award acknowledged Fleet Safety as a 'significant technological breakthrough’, recognising that the system will improve the safety of mariners and vessels worldwide. At the prestigious Safety at Sea Awards 2018, the MST was named Best Safety Service of the Year.

Inmarsat considers that the ARTES support and experience provided by ESA to the project was key in the successful development of the new Maritime Safety Terminal prototype and the final GMDSS approval for Middle East and Asia,” said John Dodd, Director of Maritime Safety Services, Inmarsat.

Futureproof innovation

The software provides an innovative user interface for the Maritime Safety Terminal (MST), which supports an interactive touch display. It also includes a number of components and widgets that, when combined, makes the functionality much smoother and more intuitive for the operator.

One of the most striking features enhancing the user experience is that it interfaces to any of Inmarsat’s existing FleetBroadband User Terminal platforms via an Ethernet link; and is designed to be compatible with all future user terminals and developments. It provides an identical graphical user interface to the operator, regardless of the terminal make or model, in a system that works globally. Inmarsat is the only company currently able to provide this service.

The prioritising of emergency voice and data over non-essential GMDSS traffic is another important development from which crew and rescue services will benefit: the full features of the Maritime Safety Terminal are described in this MST fact sheet.

Published 11 December 2018
Last updated at 14 December 2018 - 14:54