Twenty-Fifth Session of the IMSO Assembly

Opening Session of the 25th IMSO Assembly

Highlights of this Session:

  • Director General re-elected by acclamation of the Assembly to lead IMSO for a further 4 years
  • Approval of the Reference Public Service Agreement (PSA), advancing Iridium’s position in becoming a GMDSS provider
  • Business plan and budgets for the biennium 2019-2020 approved

The Twenty-Fifth Session of the IMSO Assembly of Parties was held in London at the Headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) from 9 to 12 October 2018, under the Chairmanship of Mr Lino Vassallo of Georgia. Invited dignitaries included the Secretary General of IMO, the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Chairman of Inmarsat, all pictured above.

The Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed opened the Assembly by highlighting accomplishments achieved since the last Assembly, namely:

  • Increasing the membership of the Organization to 104;
  • Completing the technical and operational assessments of Inmarsat and Iridium services;
  • Supporting the integration of new LRIT DCs and re-integration of those which had been previously disconnected from the system;
  • Maintaining the LRIT audit fees at the same levels for three consecutive years; and
  • Relocation of the IMSO offices to a new location at the IMO building.

In his opening address, the Director General referred to an important quote by John F. Kennedy: “The earth, the sea and air are the concern of every nation. And science, technology, and education can be the ally of every nation”. The Director General made it clear that he will continue to encourage growth of IMSO membership and support its existing members to improve satellite communications for marine safety in every nation.

Assembly in session

Following the opening address of the Director General, the Secretary-General of IMO, His Excellency, Mr Kitack Lim, the Secretary-General of ITU, His Excellency, Mr Houlin Zhao, the representative of the EUTELSAT IGO Ms. Estelle Schnitzler, and the Executive Chairman of Inmarsat, Mr Andrew Sukawaty all made keynote speeches and paid tribute to IMSO’s desire to modernise its approach to GMDSS and recemented their commitment to the relationship between their respective organisations and IMSO.

The Assembly was attended by representatives from sixty-nine Member State Governments as well as by observers from seven Governments which have indicated their intention to become Members of IMSO, as well as by observers from ITU, IMO, the European Commission, Eutelsat IGO, CIRM, International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) and Inmarsat. 

Forty-Two 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.

Further to the completion of the technical and operational evaluation of the Iridium application as a future provider of GMDSS satellite services by IMSO, a Reference Public Service Agreement (PSA) was approved by the Assembly after extensive deliberation, moving Iridium closer to their intent to actively provide GMDSS services.

The United Kingdom raises its placard during the session

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 60 Data Centres spread globally provide services to 111 SOLAS Contracting Governments, 10 Non-metropolitan Territories and 2 Special Administrative Regions. The Assembly recognised the efforts and success of the Director General in persuading more SOLAS Contracting Governments to join the LRIT system and re-integrating the previously disconnected LRIT DCs, which collectively have helped to maintain the audits fees at the same level for the last three years.

The Assembly decided unanimously to reappoint Captain Moin Ahmed of Bangladesh as Director General of IMSO for a further four years following the end of his current contract. In his closing statement Captain Ahmed expressed his gratitude and honour in this decision made by the Assembly.