IMSO Celebrates International Women’s Day 2021

Today, 8 March 2021, on International Women’s Day, the International Mobile Satellite Organisation celebrates women’s achievements and contributions in the aerospace, telecommunications, and maritime sector. Director General Moin Ahmed gave the following message: “Today at IMSO we pay tribute to the women within our own organization, our partners in industry, and our fellow international organizations for their leadership, expertise and wisdom. The incredible work of these women and others ensure the safety of life at sea, and we need to ensure gender equality remains at the forefront of our work to establish a safer and more secure future.”

At the time of International Women’s Day 2020, the global effects of the pandemic were yet to be fully felt. Since then, international trade, communication, and essential work have continued thanks to the women who make daily sacrifices and work tirelessly in this industry. We especially thank the women in these organisations who applied their leadership to create innovative solutions for the new set of challenges raised by the pandemic. IMSO draws attention to the supportive work of organisations such as the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), the Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs) the World Maritime University Women’s Association (WMUWA) and others who empower women in careers at sea.

IMSO has embraced #ChooseToChallenge and would like to draw attention to the existing gender disparities and biases in the aerospace, telecommunications, and maritime sectors. IMSO extends its proud support to the women who work in these sectors and calls on them to share their experience of the challenges they’ve faced. Accordingly, IMSO promotes the inaugural Women In Maritime International Survey 2021. A joint venture by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and WISTA, the survey will help the industry understand the nature of these disparities and create policies to address them, and build a more diverse and inclusive maritime sector.

The 12th Tripartite Meeting of IMSO, ITSO, and EUTELSAT IGO

The Twelfth Tripartite Meeting of the Heads of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO), the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) and the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT IGO), took place virtually on 9 February 2021. Hosted by Mr. Patrick Masambu, Director General of ITSO, the meeting was attended by Captain Moin Ahmed, Director General of IMSO and Mr. Piotr Dmochowski-Lipski, Executive Secretary of EUTELSAT IGO. Delegations of ITSO and EUTELSAT IGO, also participated in the meeting.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the three organizations in 2009, inwhich it was agreed, inter alia, that they would explore areas where the three satellite organizations could usefully co-operate and contribute to the development of the satellite industry. Since then, Tripartite Meetings have taken place annually and been hosted by each organization in turn to discuss issues of common interest, relating to the respective companies that the three Organizations oversee: Intelsat S.A. (overseen by ITSO), Eutelsat S.A. (overseen by EUTELSAT IGO), and Inmarsat Ltd as well as Iridium (overseen by IMSO).

During the Twelfth Tripartite Meeting, the Heads of the three organizations reviewed the developments related to their organizations since the last Tripartite meeting, which took place in London on 5 September 2019.

During the session “Discussion on Next Steps”, the Heads of the three organizations exchanged views on matters of common interest and/or concerns, taking into account recent developments since their last meeting. Discussions were also held in relation to current topics including the organizations’ proactive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect on the satellite service providers they supervise.

The organizations maintained their shared goals of bridging the broadband digital divide, and support for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). In addition to providing continued oversight over the Parties’ Common Heritage, and advocating for the satellite industry, with a common goal of working toward harmonization of regulatory framework, the organizations asserted their commitment to join forces to broaden their effectiveness. By coordinating their efforts and participation in international forums, including the WRC-23, and developing capacity building training courses, the organizations aim to optimize their service to their respective Member States by reducing costs and increasing efficiencies.

The Heads of the organizations also noted that the C-band is a vital global resource for satellite network providers and continues to be an important element in the delivery of a wide range of telecommunication services to many countries. Therefore, they are closely monitoring the C-band auctions in the United States. They are also positioning their organizations to prepare to oversee a multi-operator environment and a competitive landscape. The Heads of the three Organizations affirmed their support and commitment to the UN efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly the work of the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. They also agreed to continue to meet on an annual basis, and, under the terms of the MoU, to further explore areas where the three Organizations could usefully cooperate.

The next Tripartite Meeting will take place in Paris, France in the fourth quarter of 2021.

About ITSO

ITSO is an intergovernmental organization with 149-member states, that incorporates the principle set forth in Resolution 1721 (XVI) of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which established that communication by means of satellite should be available to the nations of the world as soon as practicable on a global and non-discriminatory basis. Originally established in 1973 as INTELSAT, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization was restructured in 2001. The restructuring led to the creation of a private entity, Intelsat S.A. and to the continuation of the intergovernmental organization with a new acronym (ITSO). ITSO’s mission is to monitor the performance of Intelsat’s public service obligations and to safeguard the Parties’ Common Heritage.

For more information, visit http://www.itso.int

About EUTELSAT IGO

EUTELSAT IGO (The European Telecommunications Satellites Organization) is an Intergovernmental Organization established by an International Treaty. After a period (1985-2001) during which the Organization had operational activities in outer space to the level where it became one of the leading world satellite operators, the organization was transformed and its operational activities, assets, and related liabilities were transferred to the company Eutelsat S.A., operating under French law. Since 2001, EUTELSAT IGO, based in Paris, France and comprising 49 Member States, has a twofold role in maintaining the rights to use radiofrequencies and orbital locations which were assigned collectively to the Member States by the ITU before restructuring and monitors the operations of the company Eutelsat S.A., in particular to ensure that the Basic Principles defined in the Treaty are observed.

For more information, visit http://www.eutelsatigo.int.

About IMSO

IMSO (The International Mobile Satellite Organization) is the intergovernmental organization which oversees certain public satellite safety and security communication services provided via Inmarsat and Iridium satellites and also coordinates the System for the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of ships (LRIT). IMSO is established under the provisions of the Convention on the International Mobile Satellite Organization which also defines the public services, such as satellite services for the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS), which is subject to international oversight. Headquartered in London, UK, IMSO currently has 106 Member States.

For more information, visit http://www.imso.org.

Captain Moin Ahmed, IMSO Director General, Mr. Patrick Masambu, ITSO Director General and Mr. Piotr Dmochowski-Lipski, EUTELSAT IGO Executive Secretary participated in the virtual meeting hosted by ITSO on 9 February 2021

IMSO Signs Agreement to Assess BeiDou Message Service System ​

The International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) has the pleasure to announce that today, the 2nd July 2020, it has signed an agreement with the China Transport Telecommunication and Information Group Co. (CTTIC) to perform a technical and operational assessment of the BeiDou Message Service System (BDMSS).

This follows on from the invitation by the seventh session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) to IMSO to conduct the assessment, two years after CTTIC submitted the application to the 99th session of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC). The assessment process will evaluate the technical and operational capability of BDMSS to provide mobile satellite communication services, in particular, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

After receiving the go ahead from NCSR 7, IMSO hosted introductory meetings with representatives from CTTIC at the IMSO Headquarters, London in January 2020. Here the process was outlined and the discussions of the details of the assessment began. Taking into account the agreed effective date of the Agreement to be 17 January 2020, the date of the first meeting, while preparing for the signing of this agreement, IMSO has simultaneously started the work on the assessment: selecting the Group of Experts and Observers, outlining the assessment plan and timeline for the accomplishment of the tasks.

IMSO has now selected a Group of Experts for the process who will imminently start to assess BDMSS compliance with the criteria set out in IMO resolution A 1001(25) on Criteria for the provision of the satellite Communication Systems in the Global Maritime Distress and safety System (GMDSS), taking into account the guidance laid down in MSC.1/Circ. 1414. IMSO will then submit a report on this process to the NCSR Sub-Committee for consideration.

BeiDou is the second new satellite service provider to undergo this assessment process, following last year’s integration of Iridium satellite system. If successful, it (BeiDou) would become the third provider of satellite services for GMDSS, alongside Inmarsat and Iridium, following the transition of the system to a multi-provider environment.

Mr. Song Zhen, Vice President of CTTIC (right) presents a model of BeiDou Satellite to IMSO Director General Captain Moin Ahmed (left) during a meeting at IMSO Headquarters in January 2020.

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.