India has become the fourth country in the world to have its independent regional navigation satellite system recognized by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as a part of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS). The other three countries that have their navigation systems recognized by the IMO are the US, Russia, and China.
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) was designed to provide accurate position information services to assist in the navigation of ships in Indian Ocean waters. The Director-General of Shipping (DGS) had approached the IMO for granting recognition to the IRNSS as a component of the WWRNS, similar to the US-owned Global Position System (GPS) or Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) – a process that took two years. On Friday, Director General of Shipping Amitabh Kumar told The Indian Express, “Overdependence on any one system is not safe. The IMO has encouraged various countries to design their own satellite navigation systems. The IMO has now accepted IRNSS as an alternative navigation module. It was in use only on a pilot basis earlier but now all merchant’s vessels are authorized to use it, even small fishing vessels.”
Kumar said the IRNSS was a modern and more accurate navigation system and at any given time, there are at least 2,500 merchant vessels in Indian waters that will now be able to use the system. The IRNSS will be used to assist in the navigation of ships in ocean waters within the area of approximately 1,500 km from the Indian boundary, the DGS said in a statement.
The statement said, “Details of the tests carried out on merchant ships with regard to the accuracy of the system were included in the report prepared by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) which was submitted to IMO for consideration.”
Calling it a significant achievement towards the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative of the Union government, the statement said, “The Maritime Safety Committee of IMO during its recent meeting held from 4 to 11 November 2020 has approved the recognition of the IRNSS as a component of the World-wide radio navigation system.”