On 4 February 2014, the IMSO Director General launched an Consultancy Programme inviting appropriate experts to assist in the evaluation of mobile satellite communications systems for the GMDSS. The IMO Maritime Safety Committee, at its ninety-fourth session in November 2014, agreed that IMSO should undertake the technical and operational evaluation of the Iridium mobile satellite system to assess compliance with the relevant criteria for recognition as GMDSS satellite provider, noting that IMSO would convene a Group of Experts from the abovementioned Consultancy Programme.
IMSO has formalized an agreement with Iridium Satellite LLC to perform such technical and operational evaluation and the IMSO Director General has reported progress to the IMO Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue (NCSR 2), held in London from 9 to 13 March 2015.
Captain Esteban Pacha informed NCSR 2 in relation to the appointment of the Group of Experts which was composed of professionals with extensive experience on all the different elements that have been identified by IMO to cover issues related to Earth Stations, Space Segment, Mobile Terminals, Terrestrial Networks, GMDSS and Search and Rescue communications. The Group has held its first meeting today and is expected to complete an evaluation report to be presented by the IMSO Director General for consideration by the next session of the IMO Subcommittee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR-3) to be held in 2016. The Group of Experts will organize its own work through the Project Administrator under the coordination of the IMSO Director General in the most cost-effective manner.
The scope of the technical and operational evaluation will be to assess compliance with the criteria set out in IMO Resolution A.1001(25) on criteria for the provision of mobile satellite communication systems in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).