The sinking of the passenger liner RMS Titanic on 15th April 1912 dramatically underscored the need for ships across the board to adopt Morse code radiotelegraph equipment for distress calls.
SOLAS and GMDSS can be traced directly back to this fateful and famous night, and both have been continuously developed over the decades to a point where today, a sophisticated arsenal of satellite and radio technology and services contributes significantly to saving lives at sea.
Under international regulations, ships must carry specific equipment that can be used to alert authorities to an emergency as well as providing accurate position details, enabling Search and Rescue services to attend the scene as quickly as possible.
This information can be communicated by satellite – under GMDSS using Inmarsat C – and by maritime MF/HF and VHF radios equipped with called Digital Selective Calling. Additional equipment includes Navtex, a system that delivers safety alerts and weather reports globally, and the Automatic Identifications System (AIS),
While ensuring that vessels are protected and that passengers and crew are safe is the primary driver for ships to install the correct satellite and radio equipment for safety, national and international law also mandates that certain equipment is carried according to a vessel’s type and size, and operational area.
Failure to comply with the regulations that apply to your vessel or fleet can result in severe financial penalties. The economic impact on a business is further exacerbated as vessels found to be non-compliant may be held in port until the issue has been addressed, which can severely delay sailing schedules and activate i.e., contract penalties.
Based on the risks to life and vessels, and the potential financial impact of non-compliance, choosing the right satellite and radio equipment for safety communication is critical. Equipped designed to meet the specifications of SOLAS and GMDSS is readily available but it is possible to leverage your investment by choosing solutions that introduce new efficiencies.
Cobham SATCOM’s SAILOR 6000 GMDSS Series for instance, takes a fully networked approach, where the required equipment from any sea area can be operated from a single touch screen. Not only does this help crew to use the equipment properly in emergency situations, it also streamlines and reduces the cost of service and maintenance, because engineers can use a single point of access for the whole system.