Introducing a Return Link for Satellite AIS

Posted by Peggy Browning on Feb 1, 2012 2:05:00 PM

First, a little bit of background:

The goal of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is to provide the communication support needed to implement search and rescue plans. The GMDSS is based upon a combination of satellite and terrestrial radio services, changing international distress communications from being primarily ship-to-ship based to ship-to-shore (Rescue Coordination Center) based.  The GMDSS provides automatic distress alerting and locating in cases where a radio operator doesn't have time to send an SOS or MAYDAY call and requires ships to receive broadcasts of maritime safety information which could prevent a distress from happening in the first place.

Capsized Boat-Satellite AIS

Introducing a return link for Satellite-AIS would allow the satellite to communicate with the ship and also acknowledge a distress signal.  As Satellite AIS constellations are low earth orbiting and not geostationary, there will always be a question of revisit but I believe that AIS, particularly Satellite AIS, will play a major role in the modernization of GMDSS.  AIS is on every ship and once AIS is recognized as part of the GMDSS system, essentially every vessel will be a Search and Rescue vessel.  Satellite AIS could then be used to increase the reporting rate on the new channels when a ship is in distress and, in the event that there are no other ships around, the satellite will be sure to receive the distress signal.

Topics: Satellite AIS, GMDSS, Search and Rescue

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