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Background Information for Media: Iridium® LRIT Solutions

Background Information for Media: Iridium® LRIT SolutionsBethesda, MD—September 25, 2008—The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted Regulation 19-1 as an amendment to Chapter V of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention requirements for the long-range identification and tracking (LRIT) of ships. The new rules will apply to all vessels of 300 gross tonnage and above on international voyages, including passenger ships, cargo ships, high-speed craft and mobile offshore drilling units, and will require global position reporting by these ships while at sea, to authorities at shore, at intervals from once every 15 minutes to once every six hours.

LRIT systems must be in operation by January 1, 2009, for all Sea Areas except Sea Area A4 (generally, those Polar Regions above approximately 70 degrees latitude), and July 1, 2009, for Sea Area A4. All new ships subject to these regulations must comply by these dates, and current ships needing to retrofit equipment must comply by the date of their first radio survey after these dates. Ships certified for operation in Sea Area A4 must comply by the earlier date when they are operating in other Sea Areas.

The IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) adopted Resolution MSC.263(84), which describes the functional requirements and performance standards for each component of the LRIT system, along with general security, latency and interfacing requirements applicable to all LRIT components. Detailed LRIT technical requirements have been drafted by a number of MSC ad hoc working groups.

Iridium meets or exceeds all MSC requirements for serving as a communications service provider (CSP) for ships to transmit LRIT information. In addition, Iridium meets or exceeds the requirement that shipborne equipment should be capable of transmitting LRIT information using a communication system that provides coverage in all areas where the ship operates (MSC.263(84) paragraph 4.1). Also, CSPs must provide services which link the various parts of the LRIT system ensuring the secure transfer of the LRIT information (MSC.263(84) paragraph 6.3 which precludes the use of non-secure broadcast systems). 

Iridium’s satellite constellation of 66 operational satellites and multiple in-orbit spares ensures that every location on the globe is covered by one or more satellites at all times. Iridium provides services globally, including the open oceans and both poles. It offers particular advantages when tracking ships operating in high latitudes since Iridium is the only satellite system able to satisfy the LRIT requirements in all Sea Areas, including Sea Area A4.

Iridium provides a low-latency, highly reliable and commercially confidential transmission mechanism for LRIT data, features which will enable LRIT application service providers (ASP) and LRIT data centers (DC) to fulfill their obligations under SOLAS Regulation V/19-1 and as defined in the performance standards. In particular, Iridium’s short-burst data (SBD) service is ideally suited to the requirements of LRIT and forms the basis of Iridium’s LRIT solution and system standard.

Iridium is working with LRIT ASPs including Transas Telematics, Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS) and Pole Star Space Applications. In addition, a number of Iridium value-added manufacturers are submitting dedicated Iridium LRIT devices, based upon the 9601 SBD modem, for certification by Iridium for use in the Iridium system. 

SOURCE: Iridium Satellite LLC

CONTACTS: Liz DeCastro of Iridium Satellite, +1 (301) 571-6257, and Jina Gaines of Rhodes Communications, +1 (757) 451-0602,


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