Sunday, February 5, 2012

News Update Satellite commlinks eyed for PHL seafarers

Philippine officials expect satellites to play a more important role in protecting Filipino seafarers from threats and keeping them in touch with their families. Ambassador to the UK Enrique Manalo brought this up with the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) in London last January 24. "The advent of modern technology now allows the Filipino seafarer to remain in touch with his family even when he is in the high seas," Manalo told IMSO Director General Esteban Pacha, according to a news release of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Satellite communications vital for seafarers' welfare Manalo and Pacha also noted the important role played by mobile satellites in promoting the safety of international shipping and the welfare of seafarers, more than a quarter of whom are Filipinos. Both officials agreed that with satellite technology, seafarers can use broadband Internet access to maintain links with their families. They can also use satellites to send distress signals in the event of disasters, and in facilitating the dispatch of search and rescue units to come to their assistance. With Manalo at the meeting was Minister Francisco Noel Fernandez III. PHL is 'critical backbone' in int'l satellite communications During a tour of the central satellite monitoring facility operated by INMARSAT, Manalo acknowledged the importance of satellite communication in connecting remote areas of the globe and assisting emergency services in responding to natural disasters. One of INMARSAT's terrestrial satellite receivers is located in Subic Bay. "The Philippines is a critical backbone in the global satellite communication network by hosting an important terrestrial satellite receiver in Subic Bay," Manalo said. Also, the Philippines is one of the 97 member-states of IMSO. The Philippine Embassy in London serves as the Philippine's permanent representation to the organization. IMSO is an international organization mandated to ensure the effective performance of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) and the Long-Range Tracking and Identification (LRIT) system, which both promote safety and security of maritime shipping. — TJ