The maritime world is preparing for the implementation of the modernised Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (mGMDSS) in 2024, after the approval of a modernisation plan by IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).
We present guidance and insights to help Radio Surveyors, Coastal Radio Station Operators, and Port Communication Operators adapt to the imminent regulatory changes.
The upcoming regulatory shifts might raise concerns about pivotal changes in radio inspections. We provide a roadmap outlining these changes' potential impacts on your operations. Futronic Users need not to worry; you are equipped to meet the new mGMDSS regulations. Explore more about the Futronic MKII here.
Navigating the altered regulatory landscape might pose concerns for Coastal Radio Communication. If you use the Danphone GMDSS Coastal Radio Solution, rest assured, you are already equipped to handle the new mGMDSS regulations. For a comprehensive overview, click here.
Anticipate shifts in Port Communication regulations. If you utilise the Danphone Port Communication System, you are well-prepared for the new mGMDSS regulations. Explore the comprehensive overview in out Port System Brochure here.
Adopted by MSC 105, the plan necessitates comprehensive amendments to SOLAS chapters II-1, III, IV, and V, including related codes and regulations. Additionally, existing resolutions and guidelines for equipment standards will undergo substantial revisions.
Adopted by FAL 46, amendments to the Facilitation (FAL) Convention will mandate the use of a single window for data exchange in ports, a significant step towards shipping digitalisation.
Moreover, the requirements for SART and handheld VHF radios have been relocated from SOLAS Chapter III on life-saving appliances to SOLAS Chapter IV, consolidating all communication equipment requirements within one SOLAS Chapter.
The redefined Sea Areas will now reflect varying geographical coverage depending on different satellite service providers. While areas A1 and A2 remain unchanged, the definition of area A3 will not be determined by the coverage of a recognised mobile satellite service. If Inmarsat is utilised, the area remains unchanged; if Iridium is employed, area A3 becomes global by merging the present areas A3 and A4. If a regional satellite service is used, area A3 will be limited by the coverage zone of this service. Sea Area A4 will remain consistent as the area outside the other three areas in relation to the vessel in question, unless a mobile satellite provider with global coverage renders area A4 obsolete.
Furthermore, enhancements to Search and Rescue capabilities will be introduced through the implementation of the Cospas-Sarsat MEOSAR system. This system will significantly contribute to maritime security by pinpointing beacon locations in near real-time.
The three major changes to channels and functions include; HF that will be reduced from four to three functions. With the new regulations it will contain; Phone, DSC, and HF/MSI. That means radiotelex/TELEX is not a mandatory function in the future.
MSI will be the same. However, the requirements is changed to the ship's ability to receive MSI in the area it operates in. NAVTEX is still required where it is available.
VHF is modified to extract channels for VDES based on old duplex channels. Additionally to VHF comes MSC. 1/Circ. 1460/Rev. 4 (ITU Radio Regulations Appendix 18) - All VHF models for SOLAS vessels must comply with the latest ITU Radio Regulations which requires new channel allocation - which includes the availability of 4-digit channels.
The modernised mGMDSS will also introduce new performance standards for float-free EPIRBs operation on 406 MHz (Resolution MSC. 471 (101)), aiming to improve signalling efficiency through features such as AIS locating signals and improved visibility for night-time signalling. Related circulars such as "Guideline for shore-based maintenance of satellite EPIRBs" (MSC./Circ. 1039) and "Guidelines on annual testing of 406 MHz satellite EPIRBs" (MSC./Circ. 1040) will undergo revisions and updates.
For decades, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) has been pivotal in ensuring maritime safety, providing essential emergency communication services. However, evolving technology and operational demands have necessitated a comprehensive overhaul of the GMDSS framework by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This significant revamp not only updates technical specifications but also modernises maritime safety protocols, and eliminating carriage requirements for obsolete systems.
The impending GMDSS modernisation heralds a pivotal moment in maritime safety and communication protocols. While existing vessels benefit from a grace period under legacy systems, this roadmap towards modernisation sets the stage for a future were technological advancement aligns with regulatory precision to bolster safety measures at sea.
Ultimately, the mGMDSS not only envisions a safer maritime world but also establishes a foundation for more resilient and robust safety architecture, ensuring vessels navigating the seas with heightened confidence and security.