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Canada To Adopt Ship-Tracking Regulations

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

05 October 2009

Canada's Transport Minister John Baird has announced proposed regulations to help improve marine safety and security. The regulations would enable Canada to adopt an international shipping requirement that mandates tracking systems aboard certain classes of vessels.

The proposed regulations would apply to Canadian passenger vessels with more than 12 passengers and cargo vessels, including high-speed craft, of 300 gross tonnes and up that undertake international voyages. These vessels would require long-range identification and tracking systems on board that transmit the identity and position of the vessel to coastal authorities of other countries that also mandate the use of this equipment on their vessels. Canada would also benefit from the transmissions of foreign vessels intending to enter Canada and those navigating up to 1,000 nautical miles off its coasts.

The information transmitted at sea would help Canada take preventive action in the event of a security threat, or to locate and come to the aid of a vessel in distress.

"Requiring vessels to have tracking systems would give Canada a greater understanding and awareness of the marine environment and shipping activities in and around our waters," Baird said. "The information received through these tracking systems would help ensure safety and security, and the free flow of cargo by sea. These measures will be good for the shipping industry and good for Canada's economy," he added.

The International Maritime Organization has adopted long-range identification and tracking of vessels as a means of protecting the marine environment and enhancing the safety and security of international shipping.

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