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.

DELEGATION LED BY UNITED ARAB EMIRATES MINISTER OF INFRASTRUCTURE, DEVELOPMENT AND CHAIRMAN OF FEDERAL TRANSPORT AUTHORITY VISITS IMSO

The Director General of IMSO Captain Moin Ahmed warmly welcomed His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Belhhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure, Development and Chairman of Federal Transport Authority (FTA) to the Government of the United Arab Emirates today. At this visit, both the Director General and the Minister discussed matters of mutual relationship between IMSO and the UAE. The Minister was accompanied by several other key FTA personnel from the UAE Government.

The Director General elaborated on the mandate that IMSO has been given, in respect of public satellite safety and security services provided by mobile satellite communication systems, Inmarsat in particular and with other providers who are expected to be Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) approved in the coming years; the coordination of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) System worldwide; and also in its involvement with other international and regional organizations that are involved in mobile and maritime communication matters. In this vein, both Inmarsat as the current GMDSS provider, as well as the future provider Iridium Satellite System, were also present to showcase the advantages of satellite operations, and the services they are offering for public safety.

The Director General presenting the IMSO crest to the Minister of Infrastructure, Development and Chairman of Federal Transport Authority (FTA) of the Government of the UAE, His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Belhhaif Al Nuaimi.
The UAE delegation along with IMSO Director General witnessing the presentation by Iridium Satellite System.

Dr. Al Nuaimi was fascinated by IMSO’s dedication to public service towards maritime safety and commended the Director General for his enthusiasm in serving the Organization and its Member States. The UAE Delegation expressed a desire to liaise with IMSO in order to improve satellite communications for marine safety in their nation.

 

Both the Minister and IMSO Director General were looking forward to strengthening the working relationship and were fervent about the continued cooperation between the UAE and IMSO. 

Foreign Secretary of Nepal Visits IMSO

The Director General of IMSO Captain Moin Ahmed warmly welcomed His Excellency Mr. Shanker Das Bairagi, Foreign Secretary to the Government of Nepal today. At this visit, both the Director General and the Foreign Secretary discussed matters of mutual relationship between IMSO and Nepal. The Ambassador of Nepal, His Excellency Dr. Durga Bahadur Subedi was also in attendance at this meeting.

 

The Director General acquainted Mr. Bairagi with IMSO’s future business plan and advances in public satellite safety and security services provided by mobile satellite communication systems such as Inmarsat and other providers who will be Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) approved in the coming years, such as Iridium in 2020. Mr Bairagi was also informed of the benefits that the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) System could provide to Nepal and other countries worldwide, and how this system could enhance the security of the Nepalese shipping industry. 

The Director General presenting the IMSO crest to the Foreign Secretary of the Government of Nepal, His Excellency Mr. Shanker Das Bairagi with Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Subedi by his side.
The Nepal delegation also presented the IMSO Director General with a gift on behalf of Nepal.

Mr Bairagi was very grateful for the opportunity to learn about improving the safety of Nepalese lives at sea as well as IMSO’s mandate to public service and maritime safety. He requested the full cooperation of IMSO in assisting Nepal in becoming a member of IMSO in the future. The Director General also informed Mr Bairagi of IMSO’s extensive relationships with other international and regional organisations that are involved in mobile and maritime communication matters.

 

The Nepalese Foreign Secretary and the IMSO Director General were pleased with the outcome of the meeting and the advances that were made in strengthening the working relationship between IMSO and Nepal.  

Twenty-Fifth Session of the IMSO Assembly

Opening Session of the 25th IMSO Assembly

Highlights of this Session:

  • Director General re-elected by acclamation of the Assembly to lead IMSO for a further 4 years
  • Approval of the Reference Public Service Agreement (PSA), advancing Iridium’s position in becoming a GMDSS provider
  • Business plan and budgets for the biennium 2019-2020 approved

The Twenty-Fifth Session of the IMSO Assembly of Parties was held in London at the Headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) from 9 to 12 October 2018, under the Chairmanship of Mr Lino Vassallo of Georgia. Invited dignitaries included the Secretary General of IMO, the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Chairman of Inmarsat, all pictured above.

The Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed opened the Assembly by highlighting accomplishments achieved since the last Assembly, namely:

  • Increasing the membership of the Organization to 104;
  • Completing the technical and operational assessments of Inmarsat and Iridium services;
  • Supporting the integration of new LRIT DCs and re-integration of those which had been previously disconnected from the system;
  • Maintaining the LRIT audit fees at the same levels for three consecutive years; and
  • Relocation of the IMSO offices to a new location at the IMO building.

In his opening address, the Director General referred to an important quote by John F. Kennedy: “The earth, the sea and air are the concern of every nation. And science, technology, and education can be the ally of every nation”. The Director General made it clear that he will continue to encourage growth of IMSO membership and support its existing members to improve satellite communications for marine safety in every nation.

Assembly in session

Following the opening address of the Director General, the Secretary-General of IMO, His Excellency, Mr Kitack Lim, the Secretary-General of ITU, His Excellency, Mr Houlin Zhao, the representative of the EUTELSAT IGO Ms. Estelle Schnitzler, and the Executive Chairman of Inmarsat, Mr Andrew Sukawaty all made keynote speeches and paid tribute to IMSO’s desire to modernise its approach to GMDSS and recemented their commitment to the relationship between their respective organisations and IMSO.

The Assembly was attended by representatives from sixty-nine Member State Governments as well as by observers from seven Governments which have indicated their intention to become Members of IMSO, as well as by observers from ITU, IMO, the European Commission, Eutelsat IGO, CIRM, International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) and Inmarsat. 

Forty-Two Parties were elected to the new IMSO Advisory Committee, ensuring fair geographical representation, and the Committee will work over the next two years on the extensive mandate set by the Assembly.

Further to the completion of the technical and operational evaluation of the Iridium application as a future provider of GMDSS satellite services by IMSO, a Reference Public Service Agreement (PSA) was approved by the Assembly after extensive deliberation, moving Iridium closer to their intent to actively provide GMDSS services.

The United Kingdom raises its placard during the session

The Assembly also reviewed the work of the Directorate in relation to the Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) system which today incorporates 60 Data Centres spread globally provide services to 111 SOLAS Contracting Governments, 10 Non-metropolitan Territories and 2 Special Administrative Regions. The Assembly recognised the efforts and success of the Director General in persuading more SOLAS Contracting Governments to join the LRIT system and re-integrating the previously disconnected LRIT DCs, which collectively have helped to maintain the audits fees at the same level for the last three years.

The Assembly decided unanimously to reappoint Captain Moin Ahmed of Bangladesh as Director General of IMSO for a further four years following the end of his current contract. In his closing statement Captain Ahmed expressed his gratitude and honour in this decision made by the Assembly.

Effective Implementation and 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 Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) and augmented challenges, reality and its future.

London,16 February 2018 – 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.

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.

The Head of the Diplomatic Mission of the North and Central American States Visits IMSO

The North and Central Americas States maritime industry has experienced sustained growth driven by the industrial sectors over the past decades. The maritime sector and the economy in these states are closely linked, as the economic growth in the region is predominantly driven by its position as crucial supplier of commodities. The Director General of IMSO, Captain Moin Ahmed, warmly welcomed the representatives of the diplomatic missions from the North and Central Americas States at the IMSO annual luncheon briefing. The briefing is an important event which aims to strengthen IMSO relationship with the Member and non-member States and institutions of the region, which have also been a cornerstone for IMSO to discuss and promote matters of mutual relationship between IMSO and its stakeholders.

The luncheon briefing was attended by the representatives for Canada and the United States of America.

Representative of the North and Central Americas States head of Diplomatic Missions and IMSO Director General

Captain Ahmed continues the tradition of hosting the ambassadors and representatives of all regions. He believes that the North and Central Americas Member and non-member States plays a vital role in the region. In his presentation, he further elaborated on the IMSO’s key priorities and future business plan in respect of oversight function that IMSO plays in relation to the public satellite safety and security services by mobile satellite communication systems, Inmarsat in particular and with other providers who may be Global Maritime Distress and

safety System (GMDSS) approved in the coming years; the coordination of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) System worldwide; membership issues, Sea Earth Station (SES) agreement, Acceptance of 2008 Amendments to IMSO convention, IMSO protocol on privileges and Immunities and also in its involvement with other international and regional organisations that are involved in mobile and maritime communication matters.

Dana Jongens, Safety Services Manager for Inmarsat, made a presentation providing insightful information on the future of satellite industry and their commitment toward saving life of all seafarers. She also provided information in relation to the technical and operational assessment of the FleetBroadband Maritime Safety Data Service in the GMDSS conducted by IMSO as the regulator. The representatives of the diplomatic missions were given the opportunity to visit Inmarsat’s Network Operations and Satellite Control Centre, where they had the privilege to see different satellite antenna and communication equipment used in the maritime and aviation communication, as well as networks management and control.

Representative of the North and Central Americas States head of Diplomatic Missions visited the Inmarsat Network Operation and Satellite Control Centre

The diplomatic representatives were fascinated by the unique outlook of IMSO in serving matters of maritime safety and commended Captain Ahmed for the unifying role he has played in the North and Central Americas maritime community and for his passion in serving the Organization and its Member States.

Captain Moin thanked all the guess for honouring IMSO with their presence at such an important briefing and Inmarsat for their presentation. The representative of diplomatic missions and IMSO Director General were looking forward to strengthening the working relationship and were fervent about the continued cooperation between North and Central America Member States and IMSO.