The change of coverage area means that areas that were Sea Area A3 will now be Sea Area A4. This will affect the ships' ability to transmit and receive distress, urgency, safety and routine communications, including distress alerts and Maritime Safety Information (MSI) Broadcasts via SES in this area.

Atlantic Ocean Region East - 30th October 2018, 1100 UTC


The Atlantic Ocean Region East (AORE) migration from Inmarsat-3 F2 15.5˚ West to Inmarsat-3 F5 54˚ West will impact the coverage area over the Greenland Sea between Greenland and Norway therefore impacting NAVAREA/METAREA 1 and 19. The area depicted by green cross-hatching will lie outside the formal 5° elevation Inmarsat coverage for about 6 weeks.

Credit: UK MCA

Although operation at lower elevation angles than 5°, vessels in the cross-hatched area, might be prevented from transmitting or receiving using Inmarsat C, Mini C or Fleet 77 services. Services affected include but are not limited to:

  • GMDSS distress
  • Urgency
  • Safety

and routine communications including:

  • Enhance Group Calls for MSI and Distress Relay broadcasts;
  • Ship Security Alert System (SSAS);
  • Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT);
  • Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).

Without the availability of recognised Inmarsat GMDSS distress alerting a vessel is not in Sea Area A3.

India Ocean Region - Mid December

The India Ocean Region (IOR) migration to Alphasat Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will improve the coverage over the Greenland Sea, NAVAREA/METAREA 1 and 19. This is the final migration and will provide the Inmarsat coverage as shown in Figure 2.

How migration will affect ships

  • Some old generation shipboard terminals may not recognise the change of satellites and would need some consequential actions.
  • No change to hardware or software is necessary to shipboard terminals for GMDSS services, although a change of Data Network Identification may be needed.
  • SOLAS vessels operating in the impacted area should make sure they comply with SOLAS chapter IV functional and maintenance requirements and certification.
  • Other vessels operating in the affected area need to ensure they remain compliant with the regulations for their vessel and consider other means for distress, urgency and safety communications as appropriate.