Voice Distress service scoops "Safety at Sea" award

Voice Distress over FleetBroadband has won the “Safety at Sea” magazine's Systems Award for helping mariners in difficulties.  

The judges received a record-breaking number of entries for the influential annual awards, which celebrate the role that safety managers and manufacturers play in saving and protecting life at sea across the international maritime market.

Executive Editor of “Safety at Sea” Paul Gunton commended Inmarsat's winning service, saying: “The judges felt that this was an important initiative, providing a simple and fool-proof distress alerting system that offered a significant enhancement to ensure that a distress message was sent and received as quickly as possible.” 

Priority call access

The Inmarsat Voice Distress (Non-SOLAS) service was launched last year to enhance safety communication on commercial and leisure vessels.

It utilises FleetBroadband to provide priority call access – interrupting all non-distress calls as soon as the red distress button is pushed.  

The emergency caller is then connected to an operator at one of three Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) strategically located around the globe.

Striving for safety

“We are delighted to receive such recognition for one of our services from leading members of the maritime community,” said Frank Coles, President of Inmarsat Maritime.

“Inmarsat is striving to put safety services on all of its maritime platforms to enable seafarers to get help as fast as possible in times of trouble. Our voice distress service will enhance safety for any vessel where the option is fitted to its FleetBroadband terminals.”

Future plans

He added: “We are also working towards bringing the system to the International Maritime Organization so it can be established as a full part of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System.”

Chris Wortham, Manager of Maritime Safety Engineering; Frank Coles, President of Inmarsat Maritime; Peter Blackhurst, Head of Maritime Safety Services; and Vladimir Maksimov, Manager of Maritime Safety Operations were presented with the award on board HMS Belfast in London.