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Iridium announces partners for new GMDSS service


As part of an initiative to provide global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS) services to mariners in the first half of 2020, Iridium recently announced its launch partners – the first seven companies that have been authorized to provide this new service: Arion Communications, AST, Marlink, Marsat, NSSL Global, Satcom Global and Speedcast. 

According to Iridium, the service will be the first in the industry to cover 100% of the planet, including the A4/polar regions. It also will be the first to feature all three GMDSS services – safety voice, distress alerting and maritime safety information messaging – using Iridium’s global voice and data satellite communications network, the Virginia-based company stated.

Selection as an Iridium GMDSS service provider was based on meeting a number of requirements, according to the company. These requirements included having 24/7 customer support, a strong global or regional footprint, a robust portfolio of maritime value-added services, and an excellent track record with maritime safety and security-related services. 

Additional companies are expected to become Iridium GMDSS service providers after the launch.

GMDSS is a safety-of-life system created by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) designed to rescue mariners in distress while at sea. Its satellite communications capabilities are regulated by the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO). The system is partially comprised of satellite networks that feed distress information to rescue coordination centers around the world and enable the dissemination of navigational and meteorological information to vessels on the world’s waterways. 

Iridium received recognition to provide GMDSS from the IMO in 2018 and signed a public services agreement with IMSO to act as regulator of the service in 2019. For more information, visit

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