Outcome of the Twenty-third session of the IMSO assembly held in London from 25 to 28 November 2014

  • Tribute paid to outgoing Director General Captain Esteban Pacha and other senior members of the Directorate
  • New Director General appointed to take up office in April 2014
  • New LRIT Charging Formula adopted
  • Work commences on evaluation of technical and operational aspects of application by Iridium to become a GMDSS provider
  • Working Arrangements approved between IMSO and the World Meteorological Organization and Intersputnik

The International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) today announced the outcome of the Twenty-Third Session of the IMSO Assembly of Parties, held in London from 25 to 28 November 2014 at the Headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under the Chairmanship of His Excellency Mr Enrique A. Manalo, Ambassador of Philippines in London.

The Assembly paid tribute to the outgoing Director General, Captain Esteban Pacha-Vicente of Spain whose eight year tenure will end in 2015.

The Assembly appointed Captain Mohin Ahmed of Bangladesh as the new Director General to take up his office in April 2015. In his acceptance speech, Captain Ahmed thanked the Assembly for entrusting him with the responsibility of becoming the new IMSO Director General and praised the other four formidable candidates. He pledged his commitment to carry out his mandate, with the cooperation and support of all IMSO Member States.

The Assembly was opened by Dr Hamadoun Touré, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at his last overseas mission before he leaves the ITU at the end of the year. Captain Pacha thanked Dr Touré for his vision in establishing, together with the Director General of UNESCO, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s call to step up UN efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals. “You have significantly contributed to connect the World, and by doing so, you have significantly contributed to a better World for future generations.”

Dr Touré praised Captain Pacha for his active support as a founder Broadband Commissioner, and for tirelessly promoting universal broadband services to ensure transport safety and security and interoperability in rural and remote areas and in times of natural disasters, to ensure not only safety communications but also social media and other modern services, such as e-health and e-banking, are available globally and on board ships in particular. “This is the last Assembly with Captain Pacha at the helm of IMSO, but his legacy will long remain etched on the ever-expanding horizon of mobile satellite communications.”

The Secretary-General of the IMO Mr Koji Sekimizu also attended part of the Session, to personally congratulate Captain Moin Ahmed on his appointment as the new IMSO Director General. Mr Sekimizu also paid tribute to the cooperation between the four international organizations who between them share responsibility for all aspects of maritime safety – IMO, ITU, IALA and IMSO – who work together to solve the many challenges to sustain development goals, including conflicts, poverty, climate, human migration, biodiversity and health issues.

The Assembly was attended by representatives from eighty-eight Member State Governments as well as by observers from three Governments which have indicated their intention to become Members of IMSO, as well as by observers from IMO, the European Commission, Eutelsat IGO, CIRM, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Intersputnik and Inmarsat.

In his opening statement the IMSO Director General, Captain Esteban Pacha, referred to the fundamental importance of new satellite technologies in ensuring the safety and security of life at sea as well as to the importance that the United Nations Broadband Commission for digital development, of which the Director General is a Founder Commissioner, has placed on broadband technologies which are fundamentally transforming lives.

The Director General of ITSO, Mr José Toscano, and the Executive Secretary of Eutelsat IGO, Mr Christian Roisse, made keynote speeches which highlighted the importance of shared mission between Eutelsat IGO, IMSO and ITSO in relation to the provision of public services, as well as the important cooperation between them which has proved valuable in promoting satellite communications as a means to bridge the digital divide.

The Executive Chairman of Inmarsat, Mr Andrew Sukawaty, made a presentation on the activities of Inmarsat in relation to its business, global satellite network, safety services, and relationship with IMSO and future plans.

The Assembly of IMSO adopted its first ever Resolution in order to express its deep appreciation to Captain Pacha for his outstanding contribution to the purposes and functions of the Organization during his distinguished service with the Organization, paying tribute to his dedication, commitment, effective leadership, counsel and purpose as well as his advocacy of a united membership.

The Assembly also adopted Resolutions in tribute to the IMSO Deputy Director General Mr Andy Fuller who retired in August 2014, and the Head of Administration, Finance and Conferences Ms Jenny Ray who will retire in 2015 after having served the Organization for almost 35 years, since its establishment.

The Assembly reviewed the status of the IMSO Convention, and its other treaties as well as the activities of the Directorate over the last biennium, and its current financial status. The Assembly received the report of its Advisory Committee which had completed the mandate laid down by the last Session of the Assembly in relation to various important matters.

Thirty-Nine Parties were elected to the new IMSO Advisory Committee, ensuring fair geographical representation, and the Committee will work over the next two years on the extensive mandate set by the Assembly, under its new Chairman, Mrs Azara Prempeh of Ghana, and with the new Director General.

The Assembly reviewed the activities of the Directorate and developments in relation to GMDSS – the Primary Purpose of IMSO, under its Convention. The Assembly also entreated the Director General to carry out the technical and operational evaluation of the Iridium application for recognition as a future provider of GMDSS satellite services following the request of the IMO.

The Assembly also reviewed the work of the Directorate in relation to the Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) system which today incorporates 59 Data Centres distributed globally provide services to more than 110 Administrations; and approved a new formula for charging for the audit and review of those LRIT Centres. The Assembly requested the Director General to follow developments within IMO Maritime Safety Committee regarding its review of the financial viability of the LRIT system, the review of existing audit provisions and exploration of further alternatives for the conduct of the LRIT audit.

Appointment of Captain Moin Ahmed as new IMSO Director General (middle), current Director General Captain Esteban Pacha (left) and Chairman of the IMSO Assembly H.E. Ambassador of the Philippines Mr Enrique Manal