IMSO to Begin Assessment of BDMSS

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) 7th session, which began on 13 January 2020 and concluded on 24 January 2020, has invited IMSO to conduct the technical and operational assessment of the BeiDou Message Service System (BDMSS) for recognition and use in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

An application was originally submitted by China to the 99th session of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in 2018 and was referred to the NCSR Sub-Committee in order to evaluate the detailed information required for the pre-assessment of BDMSS.

Upon completion of this evaluation NCSR gave the green light for the assessment to begin. Following this development, IMSO had the honour to welcome representatives from both the Government of China and satellite service provider BeiDou, including Mr. Song Zhen, Vice-President of the China Transport Telecommunications & Information Centre (CTTIC), to have preliminary discussions regarding these matters, hosting meetings on Friday 17 January and Wednesday 22 January for this purpose. In these meetings IMSO Director General Captain Moin Ahmed introduced the process and was joined by Technical Officers from the directorate who expanded on the details of the technical and operational assessment which IMSO will conduct.

The process of thorough assessment will now begin in accordance with the existing requirements set out in IMO resolution A.1001(25) and a report will be submitted for consideration by the NCSR Sub-Committee. BeiDou, is the second new provider to undergo this assessment process, following Iridium, after the GMDSS system was expanded to allow recognition and use of more satellite service providers. They are working towards becoming the third provider of GMDSS services alongside Inmarsat and Iridium.

IMSO Director General Captain Ahmed (left) receives a gift of a model satellite from Mr. Song Zhen, Vice President of CTTIC (right)

Iridium Formally Presented with the Letter of Compliance

Earlier this week, IMSO Director General Captain Moin Ahmed paid a visit to the Iridium facilities in Tempe, Arizona and Headquarters in Washington, D.C.  The visit was hosted on the back of the recent introduction of Iridium as a certified GMDSS service provider, following the issuance of the Letter of Compliance from IMSO on 19 December 2019.

The Letter of Compliance triggered the entry into force of the Public Services Agreement (PSA) between IMSO and Iridium signed on the 12th March 2019. This PSA sets out the obligations of Iridium to provide a Recognized Mobile Satellite Service and the mandate of IMSO to oversee and ensure the Iridium’s compliance with those obligations under the IMO and IMSO legal framework.

When in Washington, the IMSO Director General formally handed the Letter of Compliance to Iridium CEO Matt Desch during a ceremony at Iridium’s Headquarters on 13 January 2020. The formal authorisation signifies a landmark day for both parties and was attended by members of the U.S. Coast Guard. During the ceremony the Director General highlighted the importance of the occasion, stating “This is historic moment for the public safety in the maritime community globally. The addition of new providers, such as Iridium, for GMDSS services can help to create safer seas for all mariners”.

This point has been reached after a thorough testing process of over four years where IMSO have been assessing Iridium’s capability in meeting the technical and operational requirements demanded to provide GMDSS services. As such, Iridium can now roll out its GMDSS service worldwide, with Iridium CEO Matt Desch proclaiming Iridium’s truly global service and reiterated Iridium’s “[dedication] to keep finding innovative new ways to facilitate safer marine travel.”

IMSO Director General Captain Moin Ahmed (right) Presents the Letter of Compliance to Iridium CEO Matt Desch (left)

IMSO Issues Letter of Compliance to Iridium

Today, the 19th December 2019, the Director General of the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) has issued the Letter of Compliance to Iridium Satellite LLC as the new provider of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). The Public Services Agreement between IMSO and Iridium on the 12th March 2019 has now entered into force from today, upon the issuance of the Letter of Compliance. The Public Services Agreement signed with Iridium can now be found in the ‘Basic Documents’ section of the IMSO website, along with the Letter of Compliance. 

This is an important development for satellite communications in the service of public safety and marks Iridium becoming a certified provider for GMDSS services globally.  

His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Al Saud, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, visits IMSO

Today, the 5 December 2019, Director General Captain Moin Ahmed had the honour to host a visit of His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Bin Sultan Al Saud, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom, at IMSO Headquarters. His Royal Highness was warmly welcomed by the Director General before they started discussions pertaining to the services IMSO provides and how these relate to the interests of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

During the meeting, the Director General expanded on IMSO’s role in the public safety and security services provided by mobile satellite communication systems; both in its oversight role of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) services, and as co-ordinator of the Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) system. The prime focus was how these services have been utilised by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular, and how the proper implementation and use of the satellite-based systems benefit the efficiency, safety and security in the maritime sector.

IMSO Director General Captain Ahmed (middle) and His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Al Saud (far right) discuss how the satellite services IMSO oversee are used by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Before leaving the IMSO Headquarters, His Royal Highness was presented with memorabilia marking IMSO’s 40th Anniversary, which is being celebrated this year, to commemorate the close working relationship of IMSO and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The meeting is the latest example of an extensive collaboration between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and IMSO and gave both parties the opportunity to strengthen their cooperation for the benefit of those on Saudi Arabian ships and beyond.

His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Al Saud (Left) is presented with an IMSO shield by Director General Captain Moin Ahmed (right) to commemorate the strong relationship between IMSO and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Hungary Accepts the 2008 Amendments to the IMSO Convention

The Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed, is pleased to announce that today on 11 November 2019, Hungary has accepted the 2008 amendments to the IMSO Convention. In a short presentation His Excellency Mr. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Ambassador of Hungary to the United Kingdom deposited the Instrument of Acceptance to the IMO Secretary General Mr. Kitack Lim. As it’s Depositary, IMO is the recipient of any instruments relating to the IMSO Convention, including Instruments of Acceptance of the 2008 amendments.

His Excellency Mr. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Ambassador of Hungary to the United Kingdom (centre) deposits the Instrument of Acceptance to the IMO Secretary General Mr. Kitack Lim (left) alongside IMSO Director General Captain Moin Ahmed (right)

These amendments were adopted on 2 October 2008 by the IMSO Assembly at its twentieth session held in Malta. They shall formally enter into force 120 days after receipt of Instrument of Acceptance from two-thirds of the States which were IMSO Parties at the time of adoption. However, at the time of adoption, the IMSO Assembly as an interim measure decided that these amendments should be applied provisionally from 6 October 2008, pending their formal entry into force in accordance with Article 18 of the IMSO Convention.

The Director General today reiterated his request to Member States who have not yet done so, to expedite the process of accepting the amendments, so as to ensure their formal entry into force. IMSO is carrying on with an active outreach programme to this end.

Secretary of the Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh visits IMSO

Today on the 18th July 2019, Director General Moin Ahmed met with the delegation from the Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh, led by Secretary Mr. Md. Abdus Samad to discuss issues pertaining to the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) and Bangladeshi maritime interests. The Secretary was accompanied by Director General of the Department of Shipping, Bangladesh, Commodore Syed Ariful Islam and Consultant to the Ministry of Shipping, Mr. Md. Shah Newaz all of whom were all warmly welcomed by Captain Ahmed before discussions took place.

Mr. Md. Abdus Samad, Secretary of the Ministry of shipping, Bangladesh (right) presented Captain Moin Ahmed, IMSO Director General (left) with a model of a traditional Bangladesh country boat commemorating the close working relationship between the Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh and IMSO.

In the meeting, Captain Ahmed expanded on IMSO’s role in public safety and security services provided by mobile satellite communication systems. Covered in particular was IMSO’s role covering the Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) as LRIT co-ordinator and regulator of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) services and how this related to the practices of the Bangladesh Ministry of Shipping.

From left to right: Mr. Md. Shah Newaz, Consultant at the Bangladesh Ministry of Shipping; Captain Moin Ahmed, IMSO Director General; Mr. Md. Abdus Samad, Secretary of the Bangladesh Ministry of Shipping; Commodore Syed Ariful Islam, Director General, Department of Shipping, Bangladesh.

On conclusion of the meeting Director General Captain Ahmed presented the delegation with memorabilia marking IMSO’s 40th Anniversary being celebrated this year and most eminently the IMSO crest to commemorate the close working relationship of the Bangladesh Ministry of Shipping with IMSO. This sentiment was paralleled in gifts presented by the delegation to Captain Ahmed, along with memorabilia celebrating Bangladeshi history.

This completed a constructive session reinforcing the connection between IMSO and the Bangladesh Ministry of Shipping, furthering IMSO’s target of strengthening ties to maritime and shipping institutes worldwide.

Commodore Syed Ariful Islam presents Captain Moin Ahmed with a Silver Medal marking the 40th Anniversary of the Victory in Bangladesh’s Liberation War.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University from Bangladesh visits IMSO

Today the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) took the opportunity to meet with representatives from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University (BSMRMU) of Bangladesh, led by Vice-Chancellor of BSMRMU Rear Admiral Mohammad Khaled Iqbal. The Vice-Chancellor was accompanied by Director of the Institute of Bay of Bengal and Bangladeshi Studies Captain Wahid Hasan Kutubuddin, Assistant Professor of Nautical Science Captain Arif Mahmud and Deputy Secretary of Ministry of Education Mr Habibur Rahman.

In the meeting, IMSO Technical Officer Pier Taranti gave a presentation to the representatives on IMSO’s role as a global oversight body of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of ships (LRIT) and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) services and discussions took place regarding the BSMRMU, modern maritime training, and the importance of teaching LRIT and GMDSS concepts in maritime academies.

To close proceedings the delegation from BSMRMU were presented with memorabilia marking IMSO’s 40th Anniversary, being celebrated this year, and then in turn presented a gift of their own to conclude the successful session day of knowledge sharing.

Rear Admiral Mohammad Khaled Iqbal, Vice-Chancellor of BSMRMU (left) and Pier Taranti, IMSO Technical Officer (right) exchanged gifts after the meeting.

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.

New Ambassador of Ecuador presents credentials to IMSO

Today, the Director General of IMSO Captain Moin Ahmed warmly welcomed His Excellency Mr. Jaime Marchán-Romero, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United Kingdom. As the new Ambassador of Ecuador, Mr. Marchán-Romero presented his credentials to the Director General. Ambassador Marchán-Romero was accompanied by the Deputy Head of Mission, Minister Mr Leopoldo Enrique Rovayo Verdesoto and other officers.

The Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Jaime Marchán-Romero presenting his credentials to Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed

Following the presentation of credentials ceremony, the Director General expanded on the IMSO’s role in public satellite safety and security services provided by mobile satellite communication systems, particularly its duty as the regulator of recognised mobile satellite systems Inmarsat and other future providers such as Iridium who will be Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS); the coordination of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) System worldwide; and also in its co-operation with other international and regional organisations that are involved in mobile and maritime communication matters.

Ecuador has been a Member of IMSO since 11 November 2015 and the Director General and Ambassador discussed further ways to deepen the working relationship between IMSO and Ecuador. Both the Director General and the Ambassador were keen to continue the cooperation between Ecuador as a Member State and IMSO as the Organization.

The Ecuadorian Delegation with Captain Ahmed of IMSO

Republic of Guinea becomes 105th Member State

The IMSO Director General, Captain Moin Ahmed, is pleased to announce that the Republic of Guinea has acceded to the IMSO Convention on the 13 March 2019, reaching a total membership of the Organization to 105 Member States.

In this regard an Instrument of Accession signed by His Excellency Mr. Moustapha Mamy Diaby, Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Digital Economy of the Republic of Guinea, was deposited to the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Mr. Kitack Lim, the depositary of the IMSO Convention, thereby rendering the Republic of Guinea the newest Member State of IMSO.

The Director General continues with an active outreach program in order to increase the overall membership of IMSO, encouraging various non-member states to become involved in increasing maritime safety. This in turn facilitates a greater spread of efficient maritime communications and general improvement to protecting lives at sea internationally.