Safety and security requirements

Inmarsat’s dedicated Maritime Safety Services team work closely with all organisations involved in the safety and security of ships and seafarers.

They advise on methods of using Inmarsat services and networks to comply with the following safety and security requirements for ships at sea.

Ship Security Alert Systems (SSAS)

The SSAS is used by ships to transmit a security alert to a competent authority when the security of the ship is under threat or has been compromised.

IMO legislation states that the ship’s security alert system shall:

  • Be initiated by pressing a dedicated SSAS button and transmitting a ship-to-shore security alert to a competent authority designated by the administration, which may include the company, identifying the ship, its location and indicating that the security of the ships is under threat or has been compromised
  • Not send the ship security alert to any other ships
  • Not raise any alarm on board the ship
  • Continue the ship security alert until deactivated and/or reset.

Ship security alerts can be sent using Inmarsat C and Mini C, and relevant hardware and software can be added to the existing GMDSS terminals to support the service. Dedicated SSAS models are also available from MES manufacturers.

Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) of ships

LRIT is not part of the GMDSS communication requirements either but its equipment – particularly Inmarsat C and Mini C terminals – can also be used to support the system.

LRIT is a SOLAS regulation included in Chapter V, which applies to ships constructed after 31 December 2008 with a phased-in implementation time for existing ships.

Regulations require that by default LRIT reports should be transmitted every six hours to the LRIT Data Centre with frequency of transmission to be controlled remotely, allowing for reports to increase as security levels change up to a rate of one report every 15 minutes. The LRIT information that ships are required to transmit includes its position and the date and time to contracting governments and administrations.