News Emitel boosts maritime safety

In Koszalin, Emitel has just commissioned a backup Supervision and Control Centre of GMDSS – global maritime distress and safety system. The back-up centre is equipped with the highest quality radio-communication system, just like the main facility located in Jarosławiec, and should the need ever arise, it will be able to take over all the tasks required by the GMDSS.


The centre in Jarosławiec has been operating for 27 years without a single failure to date; however, Emitel has decided to bolster the current system and infrastructure, which resulted in the commissioning of a back-up centre in Koszalin. The Polish maritime communication system, operated by Emitel, is considered to be one of the best in the world. It has been saving seamen both in Polish territorial waters, as well as outside them, for which the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation has often received words of gratitude from our foreign partners.

The staff of the GMDSS Supervision and Control Centre consists of ten people, including seven women. “It’s no wonder, since we sometimes have to play the role of psychologists. I recall the night when I received a signal from a sailor on the Red Sea, he was in a very bad emotional state. I talked to him throughout the entire twelve hours of my shift, while listening for anyone else who might be calling for help. Luckily he managed to reach the port. Later, he sent me his thanks”, said Beata Nowak, Manager of the Jarosławiec Centre and long-time system operator.

All employees of the Centre have a long very long experience in this role – 28 years on average, but there are also those who have been keeping their watchful eye on the safety of sailors for as many as 40 years. “You cannot simply come here and expect to be able to work straight away. Young, inexperienced employees who have not yet learned all the procedures often start to panic when they hear the call for help. Staying calm is paramount, because there are people at sea who are overwhelmed with emotions and only staying calm can save them. I can already sense the seriousness of a situation from the tone of voice of the sailors calling for help,” says Beata Nowak.

GMDSS operators are like flight controllers. They must be vigilant and on standby all the time – this job requires people to be able to divide their attention and to have attentive ears – you never know whether you are going to receive another distress call while talking to some sailors in dire need of assistance. The infrastructure and operation of the system is not cheap, but safety has its costs.

Emitel is a member of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) and therefore actively participates in the development of new technologies and has the necessary know-how to implement them. In March this year, the operator started testing VDES – a data exchange system based on VHF radio communication between vessels, coastal stations and satellites in Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) – and invited the  Marine Search and Rescue Services to participate in these tests. This system will soon be introduced as a data transmission standard and will be systematically implemented worldwide. Emitel has already invested in technical solutions, has launched the system in its own laboratory and is ready to start testing.

On the 1st of August this year. President Andrzej Duda signed the Act on the National Cyber Security System as a response to the Directive of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems across the Union. The Directive states the obligations, which need to be fulfilled in order to ensure the cyber security of information systems in service sectors of key importance for the country and its citizens. Therefore, Emitel has implemented a system for detecting cyber-threats in maritime communications and carrying out analyses of security incidents. The SIEM-class solution employed by Emitel is an advanced analytical tool that provides automatic, near real-time response to threats. Thanks to this solution, the security measures are fully compliant with legal requirements and guarantee the reliability and stability of the services provided. The ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certificate awarded to the operator serves as a proof of the company’s commitment to information security of our partners and a guarantee of confidentiality, availability and integrity of the services provided, as well as setting a new standard in Poland.