Comsat Teams With NOAA and Coast Guard For Maritime Reporting

Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Comsat Mobile Communications(CMC), a unit of Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications, has teamed with the United States Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to offer free Amver/SEAS (formerly Automated Mutual-assistance VEssel Rescue / Shipboard Environmental-data Acquisition Systems) messaging to mariners that use COMSAT-C satellite messaging service.

CMC recently distributed more than 2,000 free packages of Amver/SEAS software to vessels and maritime shipping companies. This software combines Amver capabilities with NOAA volunteer observing ships weather reporting. The software, which uses a message format developed by COMSAT, enables ships to send compressed data via Inmarsat-C terminals using COMSAT-C service. All Amver/SEAS messaging is free to ships using the special software and sending reports using COMSAT-C service.

In response to increased national security concerns, the United States Coast Guard has temporarily changed Amver reporting requirements for vessels bound for or departing from U.S. ports. Amver reports, including schedules, routes, passenger, crew, and cargo information, are now required from all vessels 96 hours prior to entering domestic ports or waterways.

According to U.S. Department of Transportation officials, these changes in Amver reporting are necessary to help improve the collection and flow of arrival and departure information. This ruling is in effect until June 15, 2002. Additionally, the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued an advisory, dated September 21, 2001, requiring all U.S. flagged ships to file Amver position reports every 24 hours for vessels operating in the North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and the Suez Canal.

According to the advisory, the additional position reporting is a precautionary measure brought on by an increased threat to maritime vessels operating in that region of the world. Vessels wishing to take advantage of the free messaging program offered by the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA through CMC can obtain a free copy of CMC's Amver/SEAS software by contacting COMSAT Mobile Communications at cmcsales@comsat.com

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