Good Company

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

IMO members agree to a longer-range ship tracker

Reported here:
A total of 166 countries have agreed to the new rules for merchant vessels, which would also allow countries to conduct surveillance on vessels suspected of carrying illicit cargo.

The organization said signatory governments had provisionally agreed to the changes in the Safety of Life at Sea convention, which was originally brokered following the 1912 sinking of the Titanic.

``Ships will be required to transmit their identity, location and date and time of their position to be tracked by satellite,'' said the U.N. shipping agency's external relations officer, Natasha Brown.

The new legislation will mean a ship's position can be identified up to 1,000 nautical miles from shore. Current systems are limited to a range of a few hundred nautical miles, Brown said.

She said merchant vessels trading in international waters will need to switch to the new long-range system by January 2008, offering maritime authorities a system similar to that used be air traffic controllers.

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