SOLAS vessels to report

In a further announcement MCA has stated that as from 1st January 2008 all SOLAS vessels on long range voyages (defined as in non A1 areas, ie outside VHF range from shore) are required to transmit details of their identity and position at least every six hours. The system is known as LRIT (Long Range Identification & Tracking). The onboard device used must be able to transmit the information automatically, and at intervals able to be reset remotely, ie by shore stations, to other periods down to fifteen minutes. The ship’s identity must be able to be polled at will by any other station.

AIS works in A1 areas, but LRIT will be available in all other areas, so between the two all vessels over 300 tons, all passenger vessels, and all special purposes vessels will be trackable worldwide. It is expected that most will use the Inmarsat system.