Inmarsat has announced the termination of its Fleet 77 satcom service as of December 1, 2020, completing the life cycle of a product first launched into the maritime market in 2003.
The launch of the Fleet service was a major step forward for Inmarsat at the start of the new millennium, adding Mobile Packet Data Service (MPDS) functionality for the first time and offering 64 kbps ISDN connectivity to ships at sea in addition to its voice and fax capabilities.
Fleet 77 was also Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) approved as a voice safety service, meeting the 99.9% reliability requirements of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Inmarsat notes that the service has continuously surpassed that requirement since its launch, achieving 99.99% reliability for the entirety of its life cycle, during which time it has transmitted nearly 10,000 distress calls.
In 2015 the company informed IMO of its plans to terminate Fleet 77, and since that time has been running an information programme to ensure all remaining customers were advised of the need to migrate to new-generation services to maintain safety compliance.
Inmarsat’s latest GMDSS-enabled product is Fleet Safety, which consists of any variant of FleetBroadband terminal (or Fleet One), a Maritime Safety Terminal, a Dedicated Distress Button, and a printer and keyboard.