MSC 81- Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT)

After lengthy discussion the 81st session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO's) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 81) was finally able to agree upon a text to amend SOLAS regarding Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT). 

All SOLAS ships must have the means to transmit such information by not later than 31 December 2008. 


The amended SOLAS text will apply to the following ships: 

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

Mandatory information

The information ships will be required to transmit will comprise: 

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

Date of implementation

By not later than the first survey of the radio installation after 31 December 2008, the following must be fitted with a system to automatically transmit the necessary information:         

  1. Ships constructed on or after 31 December 2008
  2. Ships constructed before 31 December 2008 and certified for operations:

.1) in sea areas A1 and A2, as defined in regulations IV/2.1.12 and IV/2.1.13.

.2) in sea areas A1, A2 and A3, as defined in regulations IV/2.1.12, IV/2.1.13  

   and IV/2.1.14. 

Ships fitted with Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), as defined in regulation 19.2.4, and operated exclusively within sea area A1, as defined in regulation IV/2.1.12, are not required to comply with the provisions of this regulation. 

Receivers of the LRIT, called Contracting Governments, comprise: PortStates, FlagStates and CoastalStates. Flag States are allowed to receive LRIT information irrespective of the ship’s position. PortStates and CoastalStates are entitled to receive LRIT information from ships that are up to 1000 nautical miles off their coast/port. 

However, Contracting Governments do have some obligations in order to receive LRIT information. They shall: 

  1. recognise the importance of LRIT information;
  2. respect the commercial confidentiality and sensitivity of LRIT information;
  3. protect the information they receive;
  4. use the information in a manner consistent with international law.

The LRIT equipment on board shall be capable of automatically and without human intervention transmitting the ship’s LRIT information at six-hourly intervals to an LRIT Data Centre. 


QUOTED from the new SOLAS-amendment: 

11. Contracting Governments shall bear all costs associated with any LRIT information they request and receive. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 11.1, Contracting Governments shall not impose any charges on ships in relation to the LRIT information they may seek to receive.

11.1 Unless the national legislation of the Administration provides otherwise, ships entitled to fly its flag shall not incur any charges for transmitting LRIT information in compliance with the provisions of this regulation. 


INTERTANKO intervened against the text as it could lead to Administrations changing their national legislation so that ships are charged for the costs. The agreed amendments were the outcome of a lengthy discussion at IMO, with over 70 countries involved, and the text itself was very fragile, which may explain why no country fully supported our intervention. However, it is INTERTANKO’s understanding only ships entitled to fly the Russian flag will be affected in the initial stages and have to bear transmitting costs. 

Click here for a copy of the amended SOLAS text and the “Performance Standards and Functional Requirements for LRIT”. 

Contact: Fredrik Larsson