Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

 

According to IMO (1999) the GMDSS represents a worldwide network of automated emergency communications for ships at sea. SOLAS convention Chapter IV states that all ocean-going passenger ships and cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards are required to carry radio equipment that conforms to international standards. The main purpose of GMDSS is to prevent unanswered distress calls and delay in Search and Rescue actions when distress situations occur. GMDSS assures “... that any emergency at sea will result in a distress call and the response to that call will be immediate and effective” (IMO, Shipping Emergencies - Search and Rescue and the GMDSS, March 1999).

 

The SOLAS convention Chapter IV Radio communication, Regulation 7 Radio equipment: General, lists all radio equipment required onboard the vessels.

The GMDSS consist of:

  • INMARSAT – a global mobile satellite communication system providing two-way data and messaging.
  • NAVTEX - an international automated service for delivery of navigational and meteorological warnings, forecasts and urgent maritime safety information to ships.
  • Emergency position indicator radio beacon (EPIRB) – automated identification and locator device for Search and Rescue operations
  • Search and Rescue locating equipment – automatically leading Search and Rescue units to the position of distress by signaling search and rescue radar transponders.
  • Digital selective calling (DSC) - a standard for sending pre-defined digital messages from ship to ship, ship to shore and shore to ship

Approved radio inspectors

Certified radio service suppliers have undergone training in the conduction of radio inspections.

We refer to the AIS and GMDSS Radio Surveyor Course at Skagen Skipperskole for Service Suppliers engaged in the inspection and testing of radio communication equipment and Automatic Identification System (AIS) on Vessels. This course is recognized by all classification societies and all participants receive a radio inspectors certificate approved by DNV after successful completion of the course. Find more information on DNV’s approval of service supplier here.  

How to Conduct a GMDSS Inspection

 

All communication and safety equipment on board vessels are required to undergo annual inspections such as GMDSS radio survey and VDR/SVDR annual performance testing (APT). These inspections should comply with SOLAS chapter IV, Functional Requirements of all communication and safety equipment onboard vessels.

 

Test equipment for conducting radio inspections: Futronic MKII

Danphone’s Futronic test box for radio inspections is based on SOLAS Chapter IV requirements for radio equipment and capable of testing all regulated radio and safety equipment related to the GMDSS other than INMARSAT with approved self-test functionalities.

Futronic meets SOLAS Chapter IV, Functional Requirements, to the communications equipment onboard vessels by providing efficient and accurate testing on:

VHF radios

DSC data, ATIS, frequency, power, VSWR and deviation.
Measuring frequency and power simultaneously.

MF/HF radios

Measuring DSC data and frequency simultaneously.

NAVTEX receivers

Reception of transmitted NAVTEX messages.

 

 

AIS transponders

Measuring AIS data, frequency, power and VSWR simultaneously on:

  • Class A & B transponders
  • AIS base stations
  • Aircraft Search and Rescue transponders
  • Aids to Navigation devices (AtoN)

Search and rescue transponders 

Measuring Data & frequency on: 

  • EPIRB
  • Man Over Board (MoB) devices 
  • AIS SART beacon data & frequency

Furthermore, Futronic MKll complies with DNV’s regulations for test equipment (Service Suppliers Engaged in the Inspection and Testing of Radio Communication Equipment and Automatic Identification System on Vessels, March 2014; 2.9 Equipment and 2.11 Minimum required instruments)

 

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). Danphone A/S