MSC 81 - draft SOLAS-text on LRIT and Performance Standards and Functional Requirements

A draft SOLAS text on long range identification and tracking (LRIT), together with Performance Standards and Functional Requirements, which have been discussed at various sessions and correspondence groups in the past, have again been reviewed by a working group during this week's meeting of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).  

The draft SOLAS text (not yet approved by the Committee at the time this article is written) will, if it is approved by the Committee, become mandatory for the following types of ships engaged on international voyages: 

  1. Passenger ships, including high-speed craft;
  2. Cargo ships, including high-speed craft of 300 GT and upwards;
  3. Mobile offshore drilling units. 

Ships will be required to transmit LRIT information, not later than 31 December 2008, which must include:  

  1. The identity of the ship
  2. The position of the ship
  3. Date and time of the position provided 

After a long discussion the working group finally agreed that the maximum distance at which contracting governments will be allowed to request and receive LRIT information will be 1,000 nautical miles from the coast. However, flag states will be allowed to request and receive LRIT for the ships entitled to fly their flag irrespective of the ship's position. 

Since the outset of this issue, it has been the general intention that the ships should not bear the costs of transmitting LRIT information. However, a proposal was made by one delegation, and accepted by the group, that will enable Administrations to do this in circumstances where the administration's national legislation states that the ships shall bear the costs. INTERTANKO strongly opposed this proposal, as we believe this is not in agreement with previous discussions and agreements and also that this will give the opportunity for Administrations to relay the costs to the ships involved. Unfortunately we did not receive enough support to fully avoid this possibility. 

A final report of the outcome of MSC 81, and the outcome of the plenary discussion, including the new SOLAS text for LRIT will be published in next week's Weekly NEWS. 

Contact: Fredrik Larsson