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IMSO Signs Agreement to Assess BeiDou Message Service System ​

July 2, 2020

The International Mobile Satellite Organization has signed an agreement with the China Transport Telecommunication and Information Group Co. (CTTIC) to perform a technical and operational assessment of the BeiDou Message Service System (BDMSS).

This follows on from the invitation by the seventh session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) to IMSO to conduct the assessment, two years after CTTIC submitted the application to the 99th session of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC). The assessment process will evaluate the technical and operational capability of BDMSS to provide mobile satellite communication services, in particular, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

After receiving the go ahead from NCSR 7, IMSO hosted introductory meetings with representatives from CTTIC at the IMSO Headquarters, London in January 2020. Here the process was outlined and the discussions of the details of the assessment began. Taking into account the agreed effective date of the Agreement to be 17 January 2020, the date of the first meeting, while preparing for the signing of this agreement, IMSO has simultaneously started the work on the assessment: selecting the Group of Experts and Observers, outlining the assessment plan and timeline for the accomplishment of the tasks.

IMSO has now selected a Group of Experts for the process who will imminently start to assess BDMSS compliance with the criteria set out in IMO resolution A 1001(25) on Criteria for the provision of the satellite Communication Systems in the Global Maritime Distress and safety System (GMDSS), taking into account the guidance laid down in MSC.1/Circ. 1414. IMSO will then submit a report on this process to the NCSR Sub-Committee for consideration.

BeiDou is the second new satellite service provider to undergo this assessment process, following last year’s integration of Iridium satellite system. If successful, it (BeiDou) would become the third provider of satellite services for GMDSS, alongside Inmarsat and Iridium, following the transition of the system to a multi-provider environment.