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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the GMDSS?

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is an integrated communications system using satellite and terrestrial radiocommunications to ensure that no matter where a ship is in distress, aid can be dispatched. Under the GMDSS, all passenger ships and all cargo ships over 300 gross tonnage on international voyages have to carry specified satellite and radiocommunications equipment, for sending and receiving distress alerts and maritime safety information, and for general communications. The GMDSS became fully effective from 1 February 1999.

What about maritime security?

Maritime security is now an integral part of IMO's responsibilities. A comprehensive security regime for international shipping entered into force on 1 July 2004. The mandatory security measures, adopted in December 2002, include a number of amendments to the 1974 Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), the most far-reaching of which enshrines the new International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), which contains detailed security-related requirements for Governments, port authorities and shipping companies.

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