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Cape Town Accords: Calls for Safer Fishing

Countdown to approval of latest International Maritime Organization (IMO) safety enhancement measures More than 64,000 ships worldwide Standards and practices for fishing vessels over 24 meters in length. In 2019, more than 50 IMO member states committed to ratifying the Cape Town Agreement (CTA) 2012 by 11 October 2022. This is a call to action that ORBCOMM can support. The agreement will promote better control of fishing vessel safety by flag states and port states of coastal states, thereby raising safety standards. The new standards will also help combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and prevent marine plastic pollution from discarded fishing nets and other equipment.

The CTA will bring minimum standards to the construction and maintenance of ships and safety equipment including navigation, communications and life-saving equipment. Through extensive collaboration with fishing vessel operators, ORBCOMM plays its part in improving the safety of one of the world’s most dangerous occupations.

Indonesia and Thailand are two countries where ORBCOMM’s satellite vessel tracking solution is helping to improve safety and reduce IUU fishing. These two countries are critical to meeting the world’s growing demand for fish and seafood. But with millions of small boats often operating out of sight of the shore — many of them actually under the radar — the scene has been primed for illegal activity.

Vessels under the CTA, a global standard for harmonizing large vessels, are expected to help reduce terror, from illegal fishing and overfishing to drug trafficking and slavery. Vessel tracking regulations are an important factor, providing greater visibility into the fleet, making crime harder to conceal and improving safety for ship owners.

Since 2008, the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has required all ships over 30 gross tonnage to be equipped with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) so that the country’s maritime authorities Ability to track the movement of ships. ORBCOMM serves the market through its value-added reseller, PT Megah Surya Persada (MSP), which uses ORBCOMM’s satellite terminals to create a range of VMS equipment for rent to fishing communities.

Thailand followed Indonesia’s lead in 2015, largely due to the need to better regulate fisheries access and combat unauthorized fishing in and outside Thai waters . Satellite communications specialist ETNECA turned to ORBCOMM to create a VMS solution for Thai fishing vessels that complies with local regulatory requirements.

ETNECA deploys ORBCOMM’s satellite terminals to provide comprehensive visibility into fishing operations and access to vessel data including position, heading and speed and catch reports regardless of where the ship is located.

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement can play an important role in ensuring that such regulations work globally to harmonize the bulk of the fishing fleet. Globally, ORBCOMM and its partners stand ready to support safe and sustainable practices in this critical link in the global food supply chain.



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