Operation of the International Data Exchange (IDE) for the Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) has been successfully transferred to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in Lisbon, Portugal.
At the 10th session of the Ad Hoc LRIT Group established by IMO (31 October to 3 November 2011), the LRIT Operational governance body, composed of the chairman of the Ad Hoc LRIT Group, an IDE representative and a representative of the IMO Secretariat, authorized the operation of the IDE by EMSA in the LRIT system.
The transfer of operations of the IDE to EMSA from its initial, interim operational base in the United States was satisfactorily completed on 18 October 2011 and the first message was routed via the EMSA IDE at 1335 hours UTC on that day. The decision of the LRIT Operational governance body to authorize operation followed the satisfactory completion of integration testing and is subject to the final consideration and endorsement of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its 90th session in May 2012.
The United States will continue to provide a disaster recovery site for the IDE, which could be activated to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted operation of the LRIT system in the case of a critical failure (for example sustained power outage, sustained network connectivity degradation, etc.) at the primary site in Portugal.
The obligations of ships to transmit LRIT information and the rights and obligations of SOLAS Contracting Governments and of search and rescue services to receive LRIT information are established in regulation V/19-1 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention. The IDE is one of the main components of the system, facilitating the exchange of LRIT information among LRIT Data Centres.
To ensure the timely establishment of the LRIT system, the United States developed and established the IDE, at its own expense (including its maintenance and operation), on an interim basis, from 16 December 2008 to 18 October 2011.
In 2010, the 87th session of the MSC agreed to a proposal for the establishment, maintenance and operation of the IDE by EMSA, at no cost either to SOLAS Contracting Governments or to IMO, for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013.
At its next session, in May 2012, the MSC will be invited to consider any offer for the continued operation of the IDE by EMSA and the disaster recovery site for the IDE by the United States beyond 2013, together with any associated new information on their maintenance, financing and operation.