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Iridium Satellite has introduced a new range of maritime satellite communication services providing cost-effective solutions for ship owners to meet the new International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements for Ship Security and Alert Systems (SSAS).

The new SSAS regulations were adopted by the IMO to enhance maritime security in response to the increasing threat from terrorism and piracy. After July 1, 2004, most deep-sea passenger and cargo ships must be fitted with a device that can send an alert message containing the ship’s ID and position whenever the ship is under threat or has been compromised. The distress message must be activated covertly from a switch on the navigation bridge or other shipboard location, and transmitted only to the designated authority without being received on other ships or raising an alarm on the ship under attack.

Iridium’s SSAS solutions will provide ship owners with a flexible array of choices to meet the IMO carriage requirements and flag administration specifications. Using Iridium, SSAS messages are routed directly to the designated authority specified by the flag state.

Iridium provides several options for sending SSAS messages through its global satellite network, using Short Burst Data (SBD), Short Messaging Service (SMS) or circuit switched data protocols, with calls routed through public switched telephone networks, virtual private networks or the Internet. The SSAS terminal can be programmed at installation, based on the ship owner’s service plan and flag requirements. Iridium SSAS units are available from a variety of Value Added Manufacturers.

With Iridium’s 66-satellite constellation, there is global pole-to-pole coverage with no reliance on regional infrastructure or ground routing, and communications security is ensured through robust data protocols.

Fitting and installation costs for the SSAS equipment can be recovered very quickly through Iridium’s inexpensive voice and data communications offerings. The SSAS equipment can be upgraded for long-range identification and tracking of ships (LRSIT) in the future.

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