Long-range identification and tracking systems for vessels: legal and technical issues
Additional Publication Information
When the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SO LAS), 1974 were adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in December 2002, one of the issues that remained to be resolved was the long-range identification and tracking (LRIT) of ships. Resolution 3 of the 2002 SO LAS conference called on the IMO to carry out, as a matter of urgency, an impact assessment of the proposals to implement the LRIT of ships and develop and adopt appropriate performance standards and guidelines for the LRIT system. The establishment of the LRIT system aims to complement and support the implementation of the ISPS Code by detecting security threats and taking preventive measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities used in international trade.
Since the adoption of the ISPS Code, significant progress has been made in developing the legal, technical, and administrative mechanisms for the adoption of the LRIT system for vessels. Resolutions were adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of IMO on May 19, 2006 pertaining to the amendments to SO LAS chapter V, performance standards and functional requirements for the implementation of the LRIT for ships, and arrangements for the timely establishment of the LRIT system. Unlike the ISPS Code which was adopted under SO LAS chapter XI on maritime security, the LRIT system has been introduced as regulation 19-1 under chapter V of SOLAS amendments on the safety of navigation to emphasize not only its maritime security but also its search and rescue (SAR), safety, and environmental applications.