Leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, Globalstar, says that its Value Added Reseller, VehSmart, of Victorville, California, has been awarded the first regional pilot project of its kind for Ecuador, which will outfit the Ecuadorian artisanal fishing fleet with life-saving satellite tracking and emergency notification devices.
The project will initially outfit 4,000 small fishing boats with Globalstar's leading satellite transmitter, the SmartOne. SmartOne devices will provide Ecuadorian fishermen and women with a means for help at sea when facing a life-threatening emergency including piracy. By linking to Ecuador's National Emergency Response System, the SmartOne devices will be outfitted with a proprietary panic button that any sailor can activate discreetly to summon a rescue.
The combined risks of an unpredictable marine environment and piracy attacks make fishing one of the world's riskiest occupations, with a high annual cost both in lives and lost or stolen property. During 2012, 184 acts of piracy occurred against Ecuadorian fishermen, according to the Ecuadorian government.
During 2013 alone, the Ecuadorian government replaced 370 stolen boat motors. Pirates steal the boat motors and leave the fishermen stranded out at sea. These stranded fishermen often die, leaving families bereaved and without economic resources. Between January and April of 2013, seven Ecuadorian fishermen disappeared at sea.
The Globalstar SmartOne provides a means for fishermen to not only send an SOS, but also allows authorities to pinpoint the location of the distressed vessel and send lifesaving rescue
The satellite devices will also provide the Ecuadorian Vice Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries with a wealth of information about the seasonal movements of the fishing fleet. Authorities will be able to police overfishing and better protect exclusionary zones, such as the waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands, one of the richest and most bio diverse ecosystems on earth.
"We are very excited to bring this life saving technology to the fishermen of Ecuador," said Brian Story, CEO of VehSmart. "We will be delivering unprecedented peace of mind to the families of those that risk their lives and property every day at sea."