Vietnam Fishing Fleet To Use Iridium Gear

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PARIS — CLS of France will outfit 3,000 Vietnamese fishing vessels with terminals linked by Iridium satellites to maritime surveillance centers for typhoon warnings and fleet monitoring under a contract valued at 14 million euros ($19.9 million), Toulouse-based CLS said March 24.

Under the contract, CLS, a commercial subsidiary of the French space agency specializing in collection of space-based data, will provide its Leo ship-based terminal for installation on Vietnam’s entire offshore fishing fleet. CLS will also build three fishing surveillance centers and train Vietnamese nationals to operate them under the contract.

The ship-based terminals will send and receive data through the 66-satellite Iridium constellation in low Earth orbit and be connected to a main center in Hanoi. From Hanoi, regional centers in Haiphong and Vung Tau will receive data on ship whereabouts and other information required to manage the fishing industry.

CLS will provide the three centers with weather and oceanographic data, including sea-surface height, deemed valuable in predicting heavy weather. The centers then will notify ships in the relevant region to head for the nearest port.

Vietnam has voiced an interest in such a system since 2006, when Typhoon Chanchu killed more than 200 fishermen in the South China Sea.