While legislation in the form of a Statutory Instrument is due to come into force making it a legal requirement for all under-12 metre vessels to have an I-VMS device installed and transmitting data when in English waters, the rollout of IVMS has been put on hold.
According to the MMO, there is no expectation that the introduction of the legislation will proceed until issues with the roll-out of I-VMS devices have been resolved.
Four devices were Type Approved in 2021 after suppliers provided evidence of their specification. However last year, following feedback, MMO acted and commissioned independent assurance testing on all four devices to provide assurance. The industry was advised to wait until the results of this additional testing before choosing and purchasing their I-VMS device.
This independent testing is now complete, and two of the devices have failed the assurance process. Type Approval status will therefore be revoked from Maritime Systems Ltd MS44 device and from the Satlink Nano as they have been shown to not meet the original Type Approved specifications set out by MMO.
The remaining two devices, Fulcrum Nemo and Succorfish SC2, will retain Type Approval, following minor fixes and further review.
MMO has therefore taken the decision to temporarily pause the I-VMS roll-out while it works with suppliers and fishers in resolving the issues raised. Fishing operators are being contacted directly to make them aware of how this affects them, and what steps are being taken to support them if any changes are now needed.
‘After receiving the testing results, we have now taken action to pause I-VMS roll-out and focus on supporting affected fishers. I know this news is unsettling and I apologise for this. But we absolutely needed to take action in response to a supplier who has been selling I-VMS devices to fishers that have significant failures against the agreed device specifications,’ said MMO Chief Executive Tom McCormack.
‘We remain committed to supporting the industry and fishers, and the feedback received last year could not be ignored. MMO can confirm that fishers will be financially supported to secure suitable, replacement devices.’
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