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Maritime Digitalisation & Communications

Inmarsat upgrades maritime safety communications

Tue 14 Nov 2017 by Martyn Wingrove

Inmarsat upgrades maritime safety communications
Inmarsat supports SafetyNet II from its headquarters in London, UK

Shipping safety has been improved by Inmarsat’s launch of the SafetyNet II service for safety information suppliers. This is Inmarsat’s new generation of international broadcast and automatic reception service for maritime safety information.

It is also a key stage in upgrading the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), which provides mariners with emergency communications.

SafetyNet II enables maritime safety information providers to broadcast on a web-based service. Inmarsat has introduced broadcast scheduling, continual monitoring, message cancellation, multiple text input methods and usability improvements.

Inmarsat tested SafetyNet II with six host countries. The results of this testing enables the organisation to make this fully available for the delivery of safety-related messages to vessels including weather forecasts, navigational warnings and piracy alerts.

Another enhancement involves the introduction of read-receipts to let search and rescue personnel know whether messages responding to distress calls have been picked up.

Inmarsat said SafetyNet II was instrumental in saving lives during its trials. It was used during two rescues overseen by authorities in New Zealand.

“SafetyNet II is an important and highly effective, next generation safety service,” said Inmarsat Maritime senior vice president for safety and security Peter Broadhurst. “Direct input from maritime rescue co-ordination centres and other maritime safety information providers was instrumental in developing and refining the solution to fit end-user requirements.”

SafetyNet II is no longer limited to ships carrying Inmarsat C terminals, as vessels with FleetBroadband will automatically benefit from enhanced resilience, as messages will have multiple pathways to reach the bridge.

To ensure redundancy, SafetyNet II is supported from two custom-built and synched data centres, one in London, UK, and the other in Burum, the Netherlands.

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