All continents are covered with water and the oceans cover 70% of the earth surface. These Oceans need to be crossed to reach one continent to another, which is possible to travel by air or ship. Air is the fastest mode of travel; however, the ship is the most economical mode of travel and at the same time the most environmentally friendly. Ships carry about 90% merchandise by volume, therefore, termed as a lifeline for the world. The researchers suggest that a ship uses about 2-3grams of fuel to carry one ton of cargo per km, whereas, a truck requires about 15grams of fuel for a ton of cargo per km.
The technology has paved the way to reduce a large number of mechanical equipment onboard to be replaced with electronics. The technology has evolved from the use of oars to high tech IC engines. The control systems have changed from mechanical manual controls to electronic and computer-based easy diagnostic ones. The automation in ships is increasing at a very fast pace and leading towards autonomous ships. Whilst there are many areas which are increasingly adding to the automation of ship’s activity, there are few areas which have immensely contributed to the ship’s efficiency and safety.
Communication is a major area, which plays an important role in the ship’s operation in modern shipping. The availability of long-distance communication has not only improved the safety mechanism onboard but also the capability to respond to the emergency of the search and rescue agencies.
The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is an internationally implemented set of safety procedures, which includes types of equipment, and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft.
GMDSS has been efficiently providing the guidelines for various communication protocols to be used whilst operating at high seas. To make it simple, the GMDSS the equipment requirements onboard ships are decided based on the area of operation of the ships. This also describes the various areas confirming which GMDSS service is available. GMDSS areas used in shipping are classified in the following four areas: A1, A2, A3 and A4.