Active Web Solutions (AWS), an Iridium Satellite value-added developer, has been granted the Safety at Sea International award for an innovative new search-and-rescue system, which uses the Iridium satellite network to provide automated data links between vessels in distress and shore rescue centers. AWS developed this award winning “MOB Guardian” system infrastructure on behalf of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
The MOB Guardian system provides a complete end-to-end safety system for unregulated vessels, including fishing boats and leisure craft. The shipboard tracking device transmits its location coordinates at regular intervals through Iridium satellites to the land-based operations center at the headquarters of the RNLI. If the signal is lost, an automatic alert is raised after a predetermined elapsed time. The operations center can then poll the MOB Guardian through the Iridium satellite data link to check if there is an emergency. If no return signal is received, a search-and-rescue mission is initiated based on the last transmitted position of the vessel. The two-way data link also allows the rescue authorities ashore to let the crew know help is on the way.
In addition, crew members can wear personal safety devices, which are in constant communication via short-range radio to the MOB Guardian device on the vessel. If the signal is interrupted by the crewman falling in the water or by manual activation, an alarm is triggered in the unit on the ship and a transmission is automatically relayed to the operations center.
The system includes a vessel-based unit, personal crew transmitters communicating into the AWS shore-based infrastructure including custom-developed software, a satellite gateway interface, a message processing engine, and a secure Web-based interface to operation consoles at the rescue center.