Inmarsat has upgraded its existing safety service for Maritime Safety Information Providers (MSIPs), SafetyNET, in order to offer improved safety capabilities to thousands of seafarers operating at sea.

The modified version has been named SafetyNET II and will allow MSIPs to transition their communications to a web-based messaging platform.

The new service offers broadcast scheduling, continual monitoring, message cancellation and multiple text input methods, among other functions and improvements.

It further includes a read-receipt feature to enable Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel to know whether messages responding to distress calls have been picked up.

"Direct input from MRCCs and other MSI providers was instrumental in developing and refining the solution to fit end-user requirements."

SafetyNET II also features upgraded infrastructure supporting the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

In addition, the system will be able to provide additional reassurance to ships in distress.

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Inmarsat Maritime Safety and Security senior vice-president Peter Broadhurst said: “SafetyNET II is an important and highly effective, next-generation safety service.

“Direct input from MRCCs and other MSI providers was instrumental in developing and refining the solution to fit end-user requirements.

“Most MSIP’s are familiar with web-based interfaces, which means the training requirement is lower.

“They can focus on new functionalities such as the ability to schedule navigational warning repeat messages.”

The improved system has already been tested with six host countries in order to verify the functionality of its services, including the delivery of safety-related messages to vessels, as well as weather forecasts, navigational warnings and piracy alerts.

SafetyNET II helped New Zealand authorities during two rescues operations during the trial period.