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not be tracked through an official GMDSS service, but John ascertained that he had tried to use an IsatPhone only hours earlier but had no credit. Inmarsat, who are able to load credit on the phone for distress situations, then found the position and a SAR operation was started immediately. John carried on liaising with the family and RCC, but in the early hours of the following day a life raft was found with the sailor dead inside. Although a tragic outcome, the family still sent a message to the Inmarsat team thanking them for allowing at least some resolution.


SPREADING THE WORD For about eight months of the year, John’s time is split between the office and the IMO, but for the remaining time he is travelling to IMO conferences and sub-committee meetings around the world and visiting any of the 45 MRCCs associated with Inmarsat safety services. John works in line with incentives from the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) to train personnel at the Rescue Centres around the world. With recent visits to centres in Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, John is continuing to instruct on Inmarsat’s RescueNET – a ground-breaking system created to improve SAR communications, offered free to MRCCs. Implementing elements of the system such as two-stage distress dialling and enhanced co-ordination between the centres using a Distress Chat function are making a huge difference, enabling up to 10 MRCCs and Fleet Safety vessels to coordinate live operations in a Distress priority chat room so everything is accountable on a secure web-based platform. A recent example in Latvia involving three MRCCs enabled a calm and measured reaction during a SAR exercise.


Maritime Rescue C o o r d i na t io n Centre (MRCC) or initiating


further


investigations to see whether the missing person can be tracked using any on-board equipment. In reality, John’s working day may well have started a lot earlier, with safety service on call 24/7 to support the Inmarsat NOC team. A wake- up call in the middle of the night to deal with an urgent distress situation is not usual. In these situations, the brilliant Inmarsat staff at the NOC, constantly monitoring search and rescue and satellite systems operations, will stop everything. Safety of life always takes priority, which is what makes John’s job very different. Whether in London or training at a Rescue Centre, the Inmarsat Safety team are closely bound, united by the amount of time spent working together and with the IMO, in often very stressful conditions.


DRAMA AT SEA Some of the more recent rescue situations John has encountered last long in his memory. One of those involved a young girl who called Inmarsat Safety in tears, explaining her dad was lost at sea having failed to arrive at his destination. With no safety communications equipment on-board and no distress alert sent, he could


ONBOARD | SPRING / SUMMER 2020 | 105


WINDING DOWN Life at the London HQ has its lighter side, with the company holding a variety of events, such as a recent wine-tasting.The Inmarsat safety simulator is used as a tool to teach school children and instruct Navy cadets about the dangers at sea and safety commitment. Leading the groups gives John a chance to turn up the waves for a fully immersive, heart-pumping experience for his students. It’s just another way for John to keeping reinforcing the message of safety at sea every day.


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