Commemoration of the 40th anniversary of IMSO

Today, the 3rd June 2019, the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) celebrated its 40th Anniversary at its headquarters in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) building. Over 100 Ambassadors, High Commissioners, distinguished delegates and representatives from around the world came together for the celebrations that commemorated the heritage of the Organization and its forty years of service to the public. The event was kindly sponsored by Fulcrum, Inmarsat and Iridium.

Captain Moin Ahmed delivers his introductory remarks to the guests alongside the panel of speakers.

His Excellency Ambassador Dwight C. Gardiner, recently appointed Chairman of the 43rd Advisory Committee, conducted the ceremony while the Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed, welcomed the guests to the celebrations. The Director General outlined the considerable work done by IMSO in the field of satellite communications, particularly emphasising IMSO’s mobile nature, a necessity in facing the quickly evolving technological challenges of satellite communications at sea.

Dr. Heike Deggim, Director of the Maritime Safety Division at IMO, spoke on behalf of the IMO Secretary General Mr. Kitack Lim about the well-established partnership of the two organizations and IMO’s commitment to working with IMSO to ensure the safety of international shipping.

Following the Director General’s address, the Guest of Honour Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) gave a speech highlighting the role the maritime industry had in pioneering satellite communications that are so heavily relied upon today. He also emphasised the need to modernise GMDSS and commended IMSO’s role in working to make this happen.

ITU Secretary General Mr. Houlin Zhao Speaking at the event.

Mr. Zhao (pictured left) then presented awards to former and current Director Generals of IMSO to acknowledge their dedicated public service on behalf of the organization.

Commemorated at the ceremony were:

· Mr. Olof Lundberg, who served as the first Director General of the Organization, known as Inmarsat at the time, from 1979-1995;
· Captain Esteban Pacha, Director General from 2007-2015 including the implementation of LRIT/the 2008 Amendments
· Captain Moin Ahmed, the current Director General recently re-appointed for a second term and under whose leadership has seen a second GMDSS provider been approved.

Upon receiving their awards both former Director Generals both took to the stage to share their IMSO journeys.

Mr. Lundberg spoke of the determination and vision of those who drove the inception of INMARSAT in 1979 and reminded the audience that this field is not a zero sum-game, urging them to continue to use science and technology for the benefit of all.

Captain Pacha went on to discuss the direction IMSO could take in the future, and how the principle of shared responsibility, prevalent in IMSO and its partner organizations can help pave the way for a better-connected world.

Upon invitation by the Chairman Mr. Gardiner, the floor was then opened for goodwill messages by sponsors Inmarsat and Iridium.

Mr. Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, commemorated IMSO’s and Inmarsat’s shared origins, and emphasised Inmarsat’s commitment to GMDSS services. Mr. Pearce stressed that the close working relationship between IMSO and Inmarsat, was the reason that both regulator and service provider are able to work harmoniously and contribute to improving public safety.

Inmarsat CEO Mr. Rupert Pearce making his speech.
Executive Vice President of Iridium Mr. Bryan J. Hartin presenting Iridium's plaque to Director General Captain Ahmed
From left to right: Captain Esteban Pacha, Mr. Olof Lundberg and Captain Moin Ahmed cutting the Anniversary cake.

Mr. Bryan J. Hartin, Executive Vice President of Iridium then took the floor, expressing Iridium’s fervour to begin GMDSS services next year, and their gratitude to IMSO in working effectively to allow this to take place. He emphasised the importance of loyalty and pledged Iridium’s services to supporting the improvement and protection of shipping. He then presented IMSO with a plaque to commemorate the partnership and honour IMSO’s 40th Anniversary (pictured).

The Chairman then invited delegations to express their own goodwill messages and statements were made by delegations from Bahamas, China, UAE and the UK.

The ceremony concluded with a buffet reception in the Delegates Lounge for those attending, whom Director General Captain Ahmed thanked for joining to celebrate IMSO’s 40 years of public service.

The two former and current Director General joined together to cut the celebratory 40th Anniversary cake (pictured) to great applause.