Over 23 years’ experience in telecommunications and satellite technology, plus a childhood spent sailing on a yacht with his uncle and later as an open water canoeing instructor, provided him with first¬hand experience of the dangers of the sea. Today, his team at Inmarsat is responsible for overseeing current and future Maritime Safety Services within the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), working closely with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Rescue Coordination Centres (RCC).
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
Responsibility for the lives of all the sailors out on the world’s oceans every day sounds like a daunting burden to carry for anyone heading to work. However, for John, and his Inmarsat Safety team, it is a job they love. All of them are fully committed to the continual innovation of Inmarsat’s safety services as the only IMO-approved satellite provider operating GMDSS, proud to claim over 99.9% network availability across the globe. Even sailors on leisure yachts exempt from GMDSS regulations benefit from Inmarsat safety services which are free of charge for all seafarers. It is the gratitude of rescued sailors and their families, plus the appreciation of rescue service personnel to game-changing improvements in SAR operational procedures, that continues to motivate John after six years in the job.
John arrives at Inmarsat’s towering London headquarters on City Road with the prospect of dealing with a daily average of nine distress alerts sent out by vessels, all picked up and monitored by the team at the sophisticated Network Operations Centre (NOC). In each instance, John and the NOC team will follow the progress of the SAR operation until it is resolved, sometimes coordinating with the relevant Maritime Rescue Coordination 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.