Inmarsat has announced the commercial availability of a new voice distress service on its FleetBroadband system.
The free service ensures that, in the event of an emergency, all non-priority telephone calls underway on a vessel’s FleetBroadband are interrupted, connecting the caller directly to a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC). The new voice distress service requires a simple software and hardware add-on, which provides a ‘red button’ for one-touch easy use.
The new service also uses the enhanced capability of the FleetBroadband network, as it simultaneously sends an email to the MRCC and network controllers to alert them to a call, providing additional data such as vessel name, identification and position.
The development of a voice distress service on FleetBroadband was supported by the European Space Agency and the UK’s Technology Strategy Board.
FleetBroadband users who need emergency assistance, but who don't have access to the red button voice service, can still use Inmarsat's 505 Emergency Calling facility, which routes calls free of charge to an MRCC.