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.

Portugal accepts the 2008 amendments to the IMSO Convention

The IMSO Director General, Captain Moin Ahmed, is pleased to announce that on the 8 March 2019, Portugal has accepted the amendments to the IMSO Convention. Portugal has officially submitted the Instrument of acceptance to the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Mr Kitack Lim, as the Depositary of the IMSO Convention.

The amendments are basically related to the extension of oversight of the GMDSS to other potential satellite service providers, and the duties and responsibilities of IMSO as the LRIT Coordinator appointed by IMO.

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 other 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. He is also carrying on with an active outreach programme to ensure this goal is achieved.

IMSO signs public services agreement with Iridium

On the 12th March 2019, the Director General has signed the Public Services Agreement (PSA) with Iridium Satellite LLC, marking another milestone in Iridium’s journey to becoming a satellite service provider for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). The agreement will enter into force upon the issuance of the Letter of Compliance to Iridium in due course.

This is an exciting and historical development for satellite communications in the service of public safety and marks Iridium’s step ahead to become certified provider of the GMDSS services globally.

Effective implementation & management of the LRIT system

IMSO, IMO, SOLAS Contracting Government representatives, international organizations and industry partners came together to discuss the challenges in the effective implementation and management of the international system for the LongRange Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) and augmented challenges, reality and its future.

Captain Moin Ahmed, Director General of the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO), reiterated the importance of bringing the key stakeholders together round the table to review and explore all possible ways to promote the strategic, operational, and technical issues with regard to the effective implementation and management of the LRIT system for the benefit of public safety, security and protection of the marine environment.

Group photo of participants at the seminar

The seminar was attended by over 135 participants who have travelled from different parts of the world and represented a diverse participation from some international and regional organizations, Member States, maritime policy makers and regulators, LRIT communications
and infrastructure service providers, LRIT application service providers, data centres, search and rescue entities, security entity representatives and mobile satellite communications service providers.

The seminar was chaired by Mr Edwin Thiedeman from the United States Coast Guard, and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim, graced the seminar by delivering the keynote speech where he stressed on the importance of the LRIT system that provides an essential resource for the safety of life and protection of our marine environment. The IMSO Assembly Chairman Mr Dikko Tahir Bala, The IMSO Director General Emeritus Captain Esteban Pacha, and the Permanent Representative of Malta to the IMO Mr Lino Vassallo, delivered their Goodwill messages.

The Chairman of the seminar with IMSO Assembly Chairman, IMO Secretary General, IMSO Director General, and other distinguished participants

The LRIT system was proposed to IMO by the United States Coastguard in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks to track some 50,000 ships trading internationally around the world. LRIT was established by the IMO as an international system on 19 May 2006 by resolution MSC.202 (81) amending Chapter V of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), regulation 19-1, and binds all Governments which have contracted to the IMO. It became operational on 1st of July 2009. The LRIT regulations apply to all ship types engaged on international voyages, including passenger ships, cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and above, and mobile offshore drilling units.

“The seminar has been an eye opener both for those who have been involved in the LRIT from early years and to those who are newcomers in the industry. The seminar has been the ideal platform to understand where LRIT fits in the maritime communications network.” said Mr Lino Vassallo.

The seminar explored the overarching challenges that Flag States face in the implementation and sustainability of the LRIT system. Mr Pier -Giovanni Taranti, from Brazil, said that the “seminar provided a unique environment, joining technical specialists, operators, providers, member states, satellites operators and other actors of the LRIT system where special attention was given to the successful use of LRIT and the group discussed ways to better benefit from the existing infrastructure as a Flag or a Coastal state, as well as a SAR service”

Ms Fatima Sajwani, representing Thuraya Communications Ltd found “the Seminar is an ideal platform to meet with senior LRIT players and decision makers” she also added that “IMSO, as a leading organization, has put a lot of effort in creating a forum for maritime governments and technology providers to discuss different subjects related to the present and future uses of LRIT, it is also the best setting for us to showcase our capabilities in supporting LRIT in Regional Voyages and overcoming”.

The discussions during the two days brought a general consensus that the LRIT system has been underutilized by the users and the actual LRIT system infrastructure can transmit new and useful information between member states. Captain Santoshkumar Darokar, representing the Indian delegation said that the seminar “has reviewed many issues of intent and conceptual of the LRIT system which explore future capabilities, audit system and compliance with the SOLAS and Non-SOLAS vessels.”

Ms Karen Day, Director at CLS Group expressed that “Technology is not the limiting factor, it is a question of looking at all the data that is available from all the different sources and systems that we have access to and to see how we can use that data appropriately to enhance existing services or create new services, to meet existing needs, rather than just concentrating on what technology is going to be available in 10 years’ time”.

The theme of this seminar was “Effective Implementation and Management of the LRIT system”, with deliberations focused on the promotion of wider use of the LRIT system to enhance maritime safety, security, protection of the maritime environment and its challenges.

The seminar had the objectives to:
∂ promote the wider use of the LRIT system, in order to enhance maritime safety, security and marine environmental protection;
∂ explore ways to efficiently use the LRIT system by all stakeholder;
∂ offer ways to ensure sustainability of the LRIT system;
∂ embrace innovative technologies and ideas supporting ship tracking; and ∂ increase LRIT awareness through capacity development.

The seminar brought an agreed consensus though the deliberations and in particular:
∂ the current implementation and use cases of the LRIT system in the context of flag State, port State, coastal state, search and rescue and maritime security;
∂ sustainability of the LRIT system;
∂ LRIT innovations such as: exploring effective ways of tracking ships, or integration of LRIT with other tracking and reporting system; and
∂ LRIT spectrum and cyber security.

Director General Ahmed in his closing remarks thanked all the participants for their contributions to the seminar and undertook to ensure that his team will continue working diligently to improving public safety and security communication services provided by the providers. He hoped that that this seminar is the first step of raising the importance of the potential development of LRIT in the foreseeable future.

Presentation of certificate to Director General Emeritus Captain Esteban Pacha-Vicente

Mr Diko Bala, Chairman of the IMSO Assembly presenting the “Certificate of Director General Emeritus of IMSO” to Captain Esteban Pacha-Vicente

The Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed hosted an official ceremony to present the certificate of “Director General Emeritus of IMSO” to former Director General Captain Esteban Pacha-Vicente today at the IMSO headquarters, London.

Captain Pacha-Vicente, served as Director General of IMSO from 2007 to 2015, has been awarded the prestigious IMSO recognition, for his significant contribution to the work of IMSO at the 24thSession of IMSO Assembly in November 2016. He becomes the second Director Emeritus after Mr Jerzy Vonau of Poland was designated as such by the IMSO Assembly at its 20th Session in 2008.

Captain Pacha-Vicente is a Master Mariner and holds Degrees in Nautical Sciences and Maritime Transport, in Industrial Engineering and in Public Management. After serving as Master of merchant vessels, from 1988 he has served with high level appointments within the Spanish Government, before becoming Counsellor for Transport at the Spanish Embassy in
London (2000-2007), leading the Spanish delegations at various intergovernmental meetings, many of which he Chaired before joining IMSO as the Director General.

He also served as Governor of the World Maritime University and is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute, Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and Member of the International Institute of Space Law.

Among the distinguished guest, IMSO had the honour of having the company of His Excellency, Mr. Carlos Bastarreche, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Spain to IMO and Mr Diko Bala, Chairman of the IMSO Assembly and the Alternative Permanent Representative of Nigeria to IMO.

The Director General presenting the IMSO crest to the Spanish Ambassador, His Excellency, Mr. Carlos Bastarreche.

Captain Pacha-Vicente thanked the Chairman of the IMSO Advisory Committee for proposing his name for this honour and also the IMSO Assembly for conferring on him the title of the Director General Emeritus. He was particularly honoured to be presented the “Certificate of Director General Emeritus” in the presence of the Ambassador of Spain, Chairman of the Assembly, Director General and staff members of the Organisation.

Captain Pacha pictured with his wife and all invited guest

The Director General, Captain Ahmed highlighted Captain Pacha’s distinguished career, culminating his eight-year stewardship as Director General and thanked him for the legacy he left. Captain Pacha expressed his availability to continue supporting and representing IMSO in the future and wished the Directorate all the very best success.