BETHESDA, Md. - October 6, 2009 - The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) has approved a resolution requiring members' passenger ships to be fitted with satellite tracking devices based on Iridium (Iridium Communications Inc.) (NASDAQ: IRDM). The devices will report ships' positions at least once per hour when cruising in Antarctic waters.
Global Marine Networks (GMN), an Iridium Value-Added Reseller, is supplying its XTracker(TM) satellite position reporting system for installation on the IAATO vessels. XTracker uses Iridium's short-burst data (SBD) service to transmit position reports from the ships at sea to a shore-based server, which can be accessed through a secure Internet connection by ship operators, search-and-rescue authorities and other authorized users.
"Iridium is the only maritime satellite communication network that can reach ships sailing in Antarctic waters," said Greg Ewert, executive vice president of global distribution channels for Iridium. "Iridium's constellation of cross-linked, low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites provides global pole-to-pole coverage and low-latency data links with compact lightweight data devices, making it the ideal solution for tracking ships, aircraft, vehicles and even individuals in remote and potentially dangerous regions of the world."
"We have developed an outstanding working relationship with IAATO and its members over the last several years," said Dr. Luis Soltero, CTO, GMN. "Many IAATO members are already using XTracker, and we welcome IAATO's decision to require our Iridium-based tracking systems on the growing number of ships sailing in the beautiful - but hazardous - waters of the Antarctic."
"Our members have voted to require automatic ship reporting as part of our organization's commitment to safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to Antarctica," said Steve Wellmeier, executive director of IAATO. "We recognize that climate change poses the most significant threat to the Antarctic environment, and we are adopting this mandate, in conjunction with other measures, to improve safety of navigation and provide an important tool for search-and-rescue authorities in the event of an incident."
About Iridium Communications Inc.
Iridium (www.iridium.com) is the only provider of mobile satellite communications services offering 100 percent global coverage. Iridium's constellation operates in a low-earth orbit and its satellite network provides communication services to regions of the world not served by wireless or wireline networks. Iridium offers voice and data communications services to the U.S. and foreign governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations and consumers via its constellation of 66 in-orbit satellites, seven in-orbit spares and related ground infrastructure. Iridium's commercial end-user base includes the emergency services, maritime, government, utilities, oil and gas, mining, leisure, forestry, construction and transportation markets. Iridium's products and related applications are installed in unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, commercial aircraft, marine vessels and ground vehicles. Iridium has launched a major development program for its next-generation constellation, Iridium NEXT, which will support new and existing Iridium product and service offerings. Iridium is headquartered in Bethesda, Md.
Headquartered in Maryville, Tenn., Global Marine Networks LLC (www.globalmarinenet.com) provides fast, reliable and cost-effective data communication services and products to ships and other remote users worldwide. The company's customer segments include global transportation, commercial fishing, oil and gas, government, forestry and individual recreational users. GMN's products and services include award-winning, high-speed, wireless e-mail for satellite phones, cell phones and HF/SSB radio; vessel tracking; comprehensive weather forecasts via WeatherNet; gridded binary (GRIB) weather files; enhanced performance and Web browsing with XWeb; Web hosting targeted for those in remote locations; and national unlimited dial-up access.
IAATO (www.iaato.org) is a member organization founded in 1991 to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. IAATO currently has 100 members worldwide. Members work together to develop, adopt and implement operational standards that mitigate potential environmental impacts. Numerous operating procedures and guidelines have been adopted over the last 19 years that have proven to be successful methods for avoiding impacts, including site-specific guidelines, site selection criteria, passenger-to-staff ratios, limiting numbers of passengers ashore, boot-washing guidelines and the prevention of alien organisms, wilderness etiquette, garbage policy, ship scheduling and vessel communications procedures, emergency medical evacuation procedures, emergency contingency plans, reporting procedures, marine wildlife watching guides, station visitation policies and more.
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