Cosco Shipping (CSSC) will begin installing Iridium Communications hardware on its fleet of 1,417 commercial vessels following a new comprehensive deal. 

The satellite communications company said its “Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)” terminals would boost crew and cargo safety onboard the ships “irrespective of [the] vessel’s location”. 

The first CSSC vessel to have the hardware fitted was the Cosco Tengfei, a Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) ship, with capacity for 5,000 vehicles. It is now equipped with the Lars Thrane LT-3100S terminal. 

The “all-in-one” tool is the hub of Iridium services, and boasts “truly global coverage” via the firm’s satellite systems. 

“These capabilities along with Long-Range Identification Tracking (LRIT) and Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) support built into the LT-3100S, extend to polar waters where CSSC’s incumbent GMDSS coverage fell short,” Iridium claimed. 

The coverage promise was a clear driver for the Chinese shipping firm, as its telecom and navigation director Xiaofeng Guo. 

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“Iridium GMDSS will greatly enhance her safety service capabilities while sailing on the ocean. It also serves as a good demonstration that the CSSC Fleet can operate in the Arctic Ocean region. We expect to deploy more Iridium GMDSS systems on those Arctic-route vessels during 2024,” he said. 

Wouter Deknopper, vice president of Maritime at Iridium, said: “As CSSC’s operations expand into polar and other remote regions, Iridium GMDSS ensures that their vessels have the most modern GMDSS service available. Since its launch, we have experienced a massive increase in vessels installing Iridium GMDSS, including merchant ships, military/government, super-yachts, and even small leisure craft.” 

The value of the full-sleet agreement was not made public.