This document (COMSAR.1/Circ.32/Rev.2) was issued on 3 July 2023. This circular supersedes COMSAR.1/Circ.32/Rev.1.
The Sub-Committee on Navigation, Radiocommunications, and Search and Rescue, at its ninth session (21 to 30 June 2022), taking into account the amendments to SOLAS chapter IV adopted by resolution MSC.496(105) and other related instruments emanating from the modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), approved COMSAR.1/Circ.32/Rev.1 on Harmonization of GMDSS requirements for radio installations on board SOLAS ships, superseding COMSAR/Circ.32, COMSAR/Circ.17, COM/Circ.110, COM/Circ.110/Corr.1, and COM/Circ.117 as from 1 January 2024.
The Sub-Committee, at its tenth session (10 to 19 May 2023), agreed with a number of modifications to COMSAR.1/Circ.32/Rev.1, which are incorporated into the revised Guidelines for the harmonization of GMDSS requirements for radio installations on board SOLAS ships, as set out in the annex, maintaining the effective implementation date of the revised Guidelines which will take effect on 1 January 2024, in line with the effective date of COMSAR.1/Circ.32/Rev.1.
Member States are invited to bring the annexed revised Guidelines to the attention of all concerned, in particular shipowners, ship operators, shipping managers, manufacturers, and surveyors.
These Guidelines were developed to provide Administrations, shipowners, and marine electronics companies with an unambiguous interpretation of the radio installation requirements in SOLAS chapter IV and related IMO resolutions.
References are also made to IMO circulars, the STCW Convention, and ITU Radio Regulations.
The core elements of this document provide guidelines on GMDSS installations on board ships.
However, additional useful information is included from other bodies involved when maritime radio equipment is installed.
Radio equipment installations on SOLAS ships should meet the relevant IMO requirements and ITU recommendations and should be of a type-approved by the Administration.
These Guidelines are applicable when installing GMDSS radio equipment on board SOLAS ships.
The rules in these Guidelines also apply to radio installations on high-speed craft as prescribed in the HSC Codes. (See chapter 14 regarding Radiocommunications)
The rules in these Guidelines also apply to radio installations on mobile offshore drilling units as prescribed in the MODU Codes. (See chapter 11 regarding Radiocommunication and Navigation)
Cargo ships of less than 300 gross tonnage (gt) and fishing/catching vessels are, as a general rule, not covered by SOLAS requirements.
However, if GMDSS radio equipment is installed on a voluntary basis or mandatory basis according to national laws, these Guidelines should be followed as far as practicable.
These Guidelines reflect, to a large extent, unambiguous requirements in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations (see subsection 1.2. below).
Other practical installation solutions than the ones emerging from these Guidelines may, however, be accepted as long as the international requirements, as laid down in the SOLAS Convention, etc., are met, and the installation is considered to be equivalent.
Note: The marine electronics company which installs the radio equipment should be responsible for giving the radio operators proper familiarization in the use of the installed radio equipment before it is put into operation.