Fourteen maritime organizations have sent a letter to Commandant Karl Schultz of the US Coast Guard (USCG) pressing him to raise the “urgent issue” of GPS jamming and spoofing at the IMO’s Council meeting next month.
The letter states that “GNSS signals have become an important part of marine operations and interference with them places the efficiency and safety of maritime operations at risk, impacting seafarer lives.”
It points out that a recent report by the non-profit C4ADS showed that deliberate transmissions were being used to block and deceive GPS and other GNSS signals in the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean from 2016 to 2018 in order to affect maritime operations.
The letter continues:
"Vessels operating in international waters and in innocent passage through territorial seas were impacted. Recent vessel reports and AIS data show that these transmissions continue.
Anecdotal reports have indicated that this kind of interference can be found across the globe.
As one example, researchers at the German Aerospace Center detected interference on every leg of a cargo ship’s year-long operations between Europe and the far east.
In addition to degrading safety of life at sea, these transmissions violate International Telecommunications Union Radio Regulation 19.2 that stipulates “All transmissions with false or misleading identification are prohibited.”
We request you propose an IMO Council resolution that includes:
- GNSS signals are important to safety of navigation
- Member states should enact measures to prevent unauthorized transmissions on GNSS frequencies
- Member states should refrain from interfering with GNSS signals as much as possible, except when required for security reasons
- Member states interfering with GNSS signals for security reasons should issue notices to mariners specifying the time periods and areas impacted to help minimize negative effects on maritime operations.
We regret not all the signatories will be able to attend the 11 July public meeting to help prepare your delegation for the IMO Council meeting."
The letter is signed by officials on behalf of the following organisations:
The Government Affairs Maritime Security Council
American Maritime Congress
International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots
Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial Development
Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation
The Maritime Alliance
United States Maritime Resource Center
The Transportation Institute
Seafarers International Union
American Maritime Officers
American Maritime Officers Service
Marine Engineers Beneficial Association
Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services
Council of American Master Mariners