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ISRO to assist ships in distress

India: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will soon join a select group of institutions providing rescue and relief support to ships in distress across the globe. “India’s Resourcesat-2, the remote sensing satellite to be launched this December will carry on board a state-of-the-art Space-Based Automatic Identification System (AIS-SB) meant to track ships and report if they are in trouble,” said an ISRO spokesman.

S. Satish, Director (public relations and publications), ISRO said, “The payload was built by COMDEV of Canada, a group known for its expertise in space engineering and hardware.” He added, “The AIS-SB will monitor the movement of all ships registered with us on a round-the-clock basis irrespective of their location. We will be able to offer instant rescue and relief operations to the ships if there is any accident.”

He prominently mentioned that this will be the first time an instrument of this kind will be used in an Indian satellite. He also pointed out that ISRO’s move to have a space-based automatic identification system of its own was in response to the rapid growth of the shipping industry globally. “Any distress call will be picked up by the AIS-SB and relayed to the agencies concerned for immediate action,” he added.

Bhaskar Kunhi, chief pilot, Cochin Port Trust, welcomed the AIS-SB. “Our sailors are dependent on INMARSAT, the international marine satellites for all communication purposes. The AIS-SB will make it easy for our ships to communicate faster,” he said.

Source: Deccan Chronicle