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.

Indonesian Ambassador to UK visits IMSO

The Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed, had the pleasure of welcoming the Indonesian delegation led by His Excellency, Dr. Rizal Sukma, Ambassador of Indonesia to the United Kingdom and the Permanent Representative of Indonesia to IMO, who paid a courtesy visit to the IMSO headquarters today, 12 April 2017.

The Director General presenting the IMSO crest to the Ambassador Rizal Sukma

Presentations were made by IMSO Director General and Mr John Dodd, Director Safety Services Maritime of Inmarsat and the distinguished guests had a wide-ranging discussion on reinforcing the existing bilateral working relationship on issues of mutual interest and concerns and on the status of acceptance of the various IMSO legal instruments.

The Indonesian delegation also visited the Inmarsat Satellite Network Operation Centre

Both the Indonesian Ambassador and IMSO Director General were looking forward to work very closely and were very enthusiastic about the continued cooperation between Indonesia and IMSO and discussion were held to promote such cooperation. The Ambassador was impressed by the perspective of IMSO in serving matters of maritime safety and congratulated the Director General for his efforts.

IMO Secretary-General Mr. Ki-Tack Lim visits IMSO

At the invitation of the IMSO Director General, Captain Moin Ahmed, His Excellency, Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) made an official visit to the IMSO Headquarters today, 10 January 2017.

The IMO Secretary General was accompanied by the Director of IMO Maritime Safety Division, Mr Ashok Mahapatra and they were welcomed by Captain Ahmed and Inmarsat senior management team.

The IMSO Director General presenting the crest to the IMO Secretary General

In all, the distinguished guests had a wide-ranging discussion on reinforcing the existing bilateral working relationship on issues of mutual interest and concern. Both the IMO Secretary-General and IMSO Director General were looking forward to work very closely and were very enthusiastic about the continued cooperation between IMO and IMSO and discussion were held to promote such cooperation.

The IMO Secretary-General also visited the Inmarsat Network Operations Centre

The IMO Secretary General having appreciated the role of IMSO in enhancing maritime safety, security and protection of the marine environment, expressed his wishes to reinforce the special bond between the two organisations reflecting the mutual interests of the Member States.

Designation of Captain Esteban Pacha-Vicente of Spain as Director General Emeritus of IMSO

IMSO Director General Capt Moin Ahmed (left) congratulates his predecessor Capt Esteban Pacha-Vicente (right) on his designation as Director General Emeritus of IMSO

The Assembly of the International Mobile Satellite Organization, at its Twenty-fourth Session held on London from 15 to 17 November 2016, has decided that Captain Esteban Pacha-Vicente of Spain be recognized for the outstanding contribution during his eight years’ tenure as Director General of the Organization and be designated as Director General Emeritus of IMSO from 15th of April 2015.

The delegation of Spain highlighted Captain Pacha’ distinguished career and thanked the Assembly for recognizing him and also honouring Spain with this designation.

In his acceptance, Captain Esteban Pacha-Vicente, thanked the Chairman of the IMSO Advisory Committee Ms Azara Prempeh of Ghana for proposing his designation and all delegations for unanimously agreeing to bestow on him such honour. He welcomed the progress made by the Assembly at this session and the new initiatives undertaken, and expressed his availability to continue supporting IMSO in the future.

Esteban Pacha-Vicente served as Chairman of the IMSO Advisory Committee from 2005 to 2007, and as IMSO Director General from 2007 to 2015. He becomes the second Director General Emeritus of IMSO after Mr Jerzy Vonau of Poland was designated as such by the IMSO Assembly at its Twentieth Session in 2008.

Brazilian Ambassador for IMO and IMSO visits IMSO

The Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed, had the pleasure of welcoming His Excellency, the Honourable Hermano Telles Ribeiro, Ambassador of Brazil to IMO and IMSO accompanied by the Minister Counsellor Ana Paula Simoes Silva, paid a courtesy visit to the IMSO headquarters today, the 2nd November 2016.

The IMSO Director General receiving the credential of Ambassador the Honourable Hermano Telles Ribeiro

In all, the distinguished guests were looking forward to the IMSO 24th session of the assembly meeting which takes place from the 15th to 17th of November, 2016 and very enthusiastic about the future cooperation between the Brazilian authorities and IMSO and discussion were held to promote such cooperation.

The Brazilian delegation also visited the Inmarsat Network Operation Centre

Finland accepts the 2008 amendments to IMSO Convention

The Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed, is pleased to announce that on 30 June 2016, Finland accepted the 2008 amendments to the IMSO Convention. In this connection Finland has 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 this end.

Slovak Republic Ambassador visits IMSO

His Excellency Mr Ľubomír Rehák, and First Secretary at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, Mr Ratislav Gabriel were the distinguished guests today, of IMSO Director General.

The honourable guest was also accompanied on a tour of the Inmarsat Network Operations Centre, which he appreciated.

Discussion took place on a broad range of issues from technical matters to the status of acceptance of the various IMSO legal instruments, by the Slovak Republic. The Ambassador was impressed by perspective of IMSO in serving matters of maritime safety and congratulated the Director General for his efforts.