Inmarsat takes Dutch Government to court over reallocation of ships’ emergency communications

Inmarsat will initiate proceedings with the civil court in the Netherlands seeking an injunction to review the change in spectrum allocation set out by the Dutch Government. The change aims to reallocate the spectrum currently used by essential satellite-based maritime safety services to 5G telecoms.

According to the global mobile satellite communications provider technical studies have shown this is unnecessary given both can operate together within the spectrum band in question. Inmarsat says it is committed to the Netherlands, its Dutch team and to providing its free of charge, life-saving safety and distress satellite services for seafarers worldwide that land at the ground station in Burum in the Northern part of the Netherlands.

Inmarsat wishes to continue providing its safety operations in Burum. The company has been trying to find a solution for more than eighteen months, but this would not have been possible due to the inflexible attitude of the government.

Timing of changeover unrealistic

At the ground station in Burum, Inmarsat receives around 160 calls from ships in distress every year. The station thus covers about a third of all calls made worldwide. However, should a move be forced on the company, then the proposed timing of the changeover in frequency use in the National Frequency Plan (NFP) is unrealistic and will require a long transitional term to carry out the avoidable move, says Inmarsat.

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Picture: The largest satellite in Inmarsat’s fleet, manufactured by Astrium, operating on its L-band network (by Inmarsat/ESA).

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.