Safety update

December 2009 Long-range identification and tracking (LRIT) equipment testing

This safety update is to inform ship owners how to arrange for the initial and periodic testing of Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) equipment.

Background - LRIT requirements

Currently there are no New Zealand requirements for the installation and testing of LRIT equipment on board ships that undertake international voyages. New Zealand requirements are currently under consideration and will, if brought into force, apply to SSM ships (300 gross tons or over undertaking international voyages) and all SOLAS ships. Until then, the international requirements of SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 19-1, for New Zealand ships, will only come into effect when these SOLAS ships (or SSM ships 300 gross tons or over) travel to a foreign port.

For this reason, all SOLAS ships, and any SSM ships 300 gross ton or over undertaking international voyages, are urged to install, test and certify LRIT equipment. Failure to do so may result in port state detention in the overseas port, and have implications relating to ship and port security.

Testing of LRIT

Maritime New Zealand has appointed a company called Pole Star as the LRIT Application Service Provider (ASP) for New Zealand. This company specialises in the services required for LRIT and the reporting required for the installation testing and periodical testing of New Zealand ships’ LRIT equipment.

For any enquiries relating to this testing or any problems experienced with LRIT please contact Pole Star, Asia Pacific.

On the successful testing of the LRIT system for a specific ship, Pole Star can send a “Conformance Test Report” to the owner. This test report should be requested and filed with the Safety Equipment documentation on the ship. A record of the satisfactory testing of the ship’s LRIT is also forwarded to Maritime New Zealand by Pole Star.

LRIT related enquiries

Pole Star, Asia Pacific[]

Certification of LRIT testing for SOLAS ships

LRIT equipment, although it is connected to several items of radio equipment, is officially an item of navigational equipment and detailed under the requirements of Chapter V of SOLAS.

For this reason, on SOLAS ships, inclusion of LRIT equipment on board is recorded through the detail of the Ship Safety Equipment Certificate, or any harmonised safety certificate, and the Form E that accompanies it.

Even though New Zealand maritime rules do not currently require LRIT equipment, any such equipment which is on board should comply with the requirements of Chapter V of SOLAS, be certified in the Safety Equipment Certificate Form E and be surveyed under that system. In New Zealand, the survey and certification of these ships is undertaken by the ship’s classification society.

Timing of LRIT testing with Pole Star for SOLAS ships

In order that the classification society has a recent copy of the LRIT Conformance Test Report (issued by Pole Star) on which they may base its survey, it is recommended that the ship’s owner arranges a testing of the LRIT equipment at least 4 months before the anniversary date of the SOLAS certificate.

This recommended 4 months represents the 3 month window within which the survey may be undertaken (prior to the anniversary date) and a month between the test and the beginning of the survey window (to provide enough time to get the LRIT Conformance Test Report on board the ship).

It may also be sensible for the owner to consider more than one test per year.

Certification of LRIT testing for SSM ships

The installation and testing of LRIT equipment is recommended for any SSM ship of 300 gross tons or more trading overseas. A SSM surveyor should be contacted in order to oversee this installation to the requirements of Chapter V of SOLAS, to review its testing by Pole Star, and then to add the details of the equipment to the Approved Safety Equipment List on board the ship.

At subsequent surveys of the ship, the SSM surveyor will need to review a recent test report for the LRIT to confirm it is working properly.

Timing of LRIT testing with Pole Star for SSM ships

It is recommended that SSM ship owners arrange for the testing of LRIT equipment annually at a point in time close to the start of the survey window for that vessel (4 months before the anniversary date of the ship’s survey is suggested).

Precautions and procedures

If your ship is required to have LRIT equipment on board, it is recommended that:

  • the LRIT equipment is installed in compliance with Chapter V of SOLAS
  • Pole Star is contacted for any technical queries
  • testing of the LRIT is scheduled at least annually with Pole Star
  • a LRIT Conformance Test Report is kept on board
  • the LRIT testing with Pole Star is arranged in sufficient time before the ship’s survey.

Original source content - Guidance Notice Issue 17, December 2009: Long-range identification and tracking (LRIT) equipment testing.

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