Maritime Distress & Safety System Overhaul Proposed

News Release
Sunday, April 01, 2012

Modernization of distress & safety communication at sea recommended by IMO sub-committee informs Danish Maritime Authority

At the recent IMO sub-committee meeting in London discussion focused especially on the work of revising and modernising the GMDSS system which stipulates regulations and standards for maritime distress and safety communication. The GMDSS system has been operative for about 20 years, and technological developments have indicated a need for revision. Consequently, a work plan for a revision and modernization of the GMDSS system was agreed upon, and this work is planned to be finalized in 2017. 

Guidlelines for future providers of GMDSS satellite services

It was recognised important for maritime safety that a private satellite provider is technically and operationally robust, although it is complicated to make an assessment of an applicant,  agreement was reached about the need for new guidelines where satellite systems applicants should be assessed by the International Maritime Satellite Organization (IMSO).

Distress alarm products outside the GMDSS system

GMDSS establishes systems and procedures for shipping and coastal radio stations ashore in order to ensure that distress calls are always heard and handled in the best possible manner. There was some concern that, as time goes by, supplementary equipment will be produced that does not observe the fundamental principles set out in the GMDSS system. Thus, a user risks that a distress call is not heard or perceived as a distress call, and this subject was addressed by the issue of a circular notice to rescue centres informing them of the issue..

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