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Inmarsat has been an IMRF supporter for many years, most recently regularly sponsoring the IMRF Awards (the Vladimir Maksimov Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Maritime SAR sector – named after a much-respected former Inmarsat employee - and the #WomenInSAR Award). 

The company was established by the International Maritime Organization in 1979 to provide a satellite communications network that would protect the lives of mariners wherever they were at sea. When disaster strikes – a catastrophic storm, a collision, a medical emergency – seafarers know that they can rely on Inmarsat’s safety services to get help fast.

Today, four decades later, the company provides governments, commercial enterprises and humanitarian organisations with mission-critical voice and high-speed data communications on land, at sea and in the air.

Inmarsat was the first satellite operator to meet the stringent requirements of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for global safety communications.

The GMDSS is an international safety system, which uses satellite, terrestrial technology, and ship-board radio systems to prevent accidents from happening and to automatically alert the rescue authorities and nearby vessels for quick response in an emergency.

Under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, cargo ships of 300GRT and upwards and all passenger ships on international voyages must be equipped with satellite and radio equipment that conforms to international standards. 

Inmarsat is the leading provider of GMDSS-approved satellite communication services and their Inmarsat C and Fleet 77 services have been keeping seafarers safe at sea every day since the inception of GMDSS in 1999, through the receipt and transmission of vital ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship distress alerts.

In May 2018, Inmarsat launched Fleet Safety, its next-generation satellite safety service, delivering vital safety services over FleetBroadband and Fleet One.  Fleet Safety received formal GMDSS recognition by the IMO, marking it as the most significant advance in maritime safety in a generation.

FleetBroadband offers free emergency calling for any vessel without GMDSS-compliant facilities (i.e. smaller than 300GRT). 

Using FleetBroadband, any vessel in an emergency situation can make a direct voice call to a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) by simply calling the number '505'.

The 505 Emergency Calling has been designed with small to medium-sized vessels in the merchant, leisure, and fishing sectors in mind, although larger vessels may use the facility as a back-up service too.

Inmarsat’s SafetyNET, SafetyNET II and RescueNET services play a crucial role in enhancing the safety of life at sea by broadcasting maritime safety information and SAR related information messages to Inmarsat C, Mini C, and Fleet Safety terminals around the world.

RescueNET is a bespoke safety service tailored specifically for Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs).  The intuitive and interactive service delivers fast, reliable and approved Search and Rescue communications in both Ship-to-Shore and Shore-to-Ship directions and between MRCCs.

RescueNET provides:

  • Fast reception and coordination of Distress Alerts
  • Simultaneous broadcast of Distress Alert Relay to Inmarsat C, Mini C, and Fleet Safety
  • Broadcast SAR co-ordination messages to rectangular/circular area
  • Priority messaging ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship
  • An innovative distress chat function
  • Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and vessel lookup functions
  • Nearby vessel search
  • Secure web application – with no specialist equipment required

RescueNET is available free of charge to all authorised, certified and IMO GISIS (Global Integrated Shipping Information System) registered MRCCs. 

The innovative distress chat function makes it possible for MRCCs to control a SAR incident using the facilities available on RescueNET.

It also enables Coordination Centres to communicate in real-time with multiple vessels and global MRCCs over FleetBroadband and gives them complete control over who joins and leaves the chat session.

Peter Broadhurst, Maritime Snr VP Safety, Security, Yachting & Passenger, Inmarsat says:We are proud to support the IMRF and SAR services and teams around the world. Safety is in our DNA. Inmarsat was set up by the IMO to provide reliable satellite safety communications and this is what drives us today, as we continue to work tirelessly to develop reliable services that go above and beyond the IMO's SOLAS regulations, helping to save lives at sea wherever possible.