ISRO develops second-generation distress alert transmitter for fishermen

Taking advantage of technological developments in satellite communication and satellite navigation, ISRO has improvised DAT with advanced capabilities and features, evolving to Second Generation DAT (DAT-SG).
ISRO - Distress alert transmitter
ISRO - Distress alert transmitter

Bengaluru | ISRO has developed a second-generation 'Distress Alert Transmitter' (DAT), incorporating advanced satellite communication and navigation capabilities that allow fishermen at sea to send emergency messages from fishing boats and get acknowledgement in real time.

The DAT has been operational since 2010 and more than 20,000 of them are currently in use, the space agency said.

The messages are sent through a communication satellite and received at a central control station (INMCC: Indian Mission Control Centre) where the alert signals are decoded for the identity and location of the fishing boat, according to an ISRO statement.

The extracted information is forwarded to Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) under the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

"Using this information the MRCC undertakes Search and Rescue operations to save the fishermen in distress," it said.

The DAT-SG has the facility to send back acknowledgement to the fishermen who activate the distress alert from the sea.

"This gives him an assurance that rescue (team) is coming to him. Apart from transmitting distress signals from the sea, DAT-SG has the capability to receive messages from the control centre," ISRO said.

Using this, advance alert messages can be sent to the fishermen at sea whenever there are events of bad weather, cyclone, tsunami or any other emergencies. Thus, the fishermen will be able to sail back home or go to safe places.

Further, the information about Potential Fishing Zones (PFZs) are also transmitted to fishermen using DAT-SG on regular intervals. This helps fishermen get good catch and savings in terms of time and fuel. DAT-SG can be connected to mobile phones using Bluetooth interface and the messages can be read in native language using an app on the mobile.

"The INMCC has a web-based network management system called 'SAGARMITRA' which maintains a database of registered DAT-SGs and helps MRCCs access the information about boat, and the coordinates of the boat in distress in real time. This helps the Indian Coast Guard undertake Search & Rescue operations at the time of distress, without any time delay," it said.

Secretary in the Department of Space and ISRO Chairman S Somanath inaugurated the DAT-SG in the presence of ICG Director General Rakesh Pal on January 15 at INMCC, ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network, Bengaluru.

The services of DAT-SG have been declared operational on a 24x7 basis, it was stated.

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