Marine Security Operations Bulletin - 2008-003

File number: 4303-12
No : 2008-003


Implementation of Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) of Solas Vessels.

This Bulletin replaces Marine Security Operatrions Bulletin No. 2008-002


Canadian vessel owners or operators are advised of the necessary testing of Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) , an international vessel tracking system for security, safety and Search and Rescue, and the need to ensure that existing vessel communications equipment meets the new requirement.


The majority of ships that will have to comply are already fitted with Inmarsat C equipment. However, many of these terminals may not meet the required conformance standards for a number of operational, physical and technical reasons resulting in retrofitting of equipment.



For this reason, Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard are seeking the assistance of owners and operators to conduct a conformity test of their (LRIT) equipment with the service provider, Pole Star Space Applications Ltd, prior to the entry into force on December 31, 2008.



The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has approved amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) , 1974, as amended, concerning LRIT , which came into force on 1 January 2008. However, the transmission of LRIT information by ships will become effective as of 31 December 2008. Canada, as a signatory member to IMO, must fulfill its obligation to adopt SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 19-1: Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Ships, as agreed at the Maritime Safety Committee [see Resolution MSC 202 (81)] through the adoption of LRIT amendments adopted on 19 May, 2006, into Canadian regulation by January 1, 2009 through amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

Applicability and Requirements

The LRIT regulation will apply to the following Canadian vessels engaged on international voyages:

  • all passenger vessels (more than 12 passengers) including high speed passenger craft, and
  • cargo vessels, including high speed craft, of 300 gross tonnage and upwards


The following vessels are exempt from the LRIT regulation:

  • fishing vessels; and
  • vessels fitted with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) and operating exclusively in Sea Area A1*1

Vessels constructed before December 31, 2008 and certified for operations in Sea Area A2*2 or A3*3 must be compliant with the system no later than the first survey of the radio installation after December 31, 2008, while those operating in Sea Area A4*4 must be compliant no later than the first survey of the radio installation after July 1, 2009.


LRIT equipment must be capable of automatically transmitting the following:

  1. the vessel’s identity
  2. the vessel’s position, (latitude and longtitude)
  3. the date and time the position is provided.


*1: Area with the radiotelephone coverage of least one VHF coast station in which continuous Digital Selective Calling (DSC) alerting is available. *2: Area, excluding *1, within the radiotelephone coverage of at least one MF coast station in which continuous DSC alerting is available.*3: Area, excluding *1 and *2, within the coverage of an Inmarsat geostationary satellite in which continuous alerting is available. *4: Area outside *1, *2 and *3.

LRIT Testing Process


To confirm that the existing ship borne equipment meets the requirements of the LRIT regulation, vessel owners or operators should complete a conformance test with Pole Star Space Applications Limited before December 31, 2008. Pole Star Space Applications Ltd will then issue a Conformance Test Report to certified vessels, which must be carried on board the vessel.

For more information on the LRIT testing process, please contact :

Pole Star Space Applications Limited
Suite 301-303 Whiteleys Centre,Queensway
London W2 4YN; UK

Vessel owners or operators must pay a one-time charge of £200 ($400.00 CDN approximately) for the conformance test, and an additional £100 ($200.00 CDN approximately) to obtain a compliance certificate upon successful completion of testing. As Canada is assuming all ongoing capital costs for the system, there will be no additional transmission costs to vessel owners or operators.

Please note, the Canadian Coast Guard will pay for the initial testing and certification of the (LRIT) equipment through Pole Star Applications Limited for all Canadian Flagged vessel to which the (LRIT) regulation applies. To qualify, however, the testing and certification must be complete on or before January 31, 2009.

Regardless, vessel owner/operators are encouraged to complete the testing and certification prior to entry into force of the regulation on December 31, 2008.

For more information on the Performance Standards and Functional Requirements for the International LRIT System, including more specific requirements for the shipboard equipment, please refer to the IMO’s Marine Safety Circular (MSC.1/ Circ.1257) dated 5 June 2008.

Any comments, suggestions or concerns may be addressed to Transport Canada, Marine Security Operations by e-mail to
or with:

Canadian Coast GuardTracy
Peverett,Senior Advisor, LRIT
Tel: (613) 990-4046

Original signed 

Marc Mes
Director Marine Security Operations

Dated 6 November 2008

Web links to related source documents:

  1. MSC .202(81) - Adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as adopted on 19 May 2006.
  2. MSC.1/Circ. 1257 - Guidance on the survey and certification of compliance of ships with the requirement to transmit LRIT information dated 5 June 2008: