UN's IMO Approves Satellite-Based Ship Tracking

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has announced that parties to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention have given initial acceptance to new safety measures at a 10-day meeting at its headquarters in London. Ships will now be tracked by satellite to fight terrorism and to prevent the introduction of weapons of mass destruction to the supply chain. The new proposals mandate that merchant ships be required to transmit such things as their identity, location, and date and time of their position through satellite-based technology. The new regulations would become effective under the SOLAS convention in January of 2008. Long-Range Identification and Tracking of ships is the most recent addition to a myriad of new security measures adopted by the shipping industry in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States. Port security remains a top priority for the world’s governments. In the United States, the recent rejection of Dubai-based DP World’s attempted entry into the U.S. terminal management business was just the latest episode in the politically charged atmosphere that has fueled the introduction of no less than 12 homeland security bills in the U.S. Congress.