Applicability: All shipowners, ship operators, ship managers, ships masters, shipyards and designers.

This Class News is further to Class News 40/2016, which advised on the issuance of MSC.1/Circ.1460/Rev.1.

The IMO, having taken into account concerns about the availability of VHF radiocommunication equipment, has published two circulars delaying the application of new performance standards for such equipment. 

New Installations of VHF, MF/HF radio installations and Inmarsat-C ship earth stations

MSC.1/Circ.1676 invites flag Administrations to permit the continued installation of such equipment approved to the older performance standards until 1 January 2028. 

New installations of such equipment installed after 1 January 2028 must conform to performance standards specified in the annexes to resolutions MSC.511(105), MSC.512(105) and MSC.513(105).

Existing VHF radio installations

MSC.1/Circ.1460/Rev.4 effectively moves the compliance date for VHF radiocommunication equipment to meet the new channelling requirements from 1 January 2024 to the first radio survey after 1 January 2028.

At such time, ships’ VHF GMDSS equipment is required to be compatible with the frequencies and channelling arrangements set out in Appendix 18 of the ITU Radio Regulations (RR). The amended Appendix 18 requires 4-digit channels rather than the previous 2-digit channels.

For newer VHF equipment, which is not already compatible with the amended RR, compatibility might be achieved by a software update. Older VHF equipment may have to be replaced. 

HF GMDSS equipment capable of operating narrow-band direct printing (NBDP)

The requirements of SOLAS Chapter IV related to provision of HF direct-printing telegraphy (NBDP) equipment will effectively be deleted when the revised Chapter IV enters into force on 1 January 2024 (see Class News 25/2023 for details). As such, any requirements related to HF NBDP have been removed from the recently published MSC.1/Circ.1460/Rev.4.

What we advise shipowners and ship operators to do now

Owners and operators should confirm with their VHF GMDSS radiocommunications installation manufacturer whether software updates or replacement equipment are needed, ahead of the new 2028 deadline. 

For further information

For further information or advice, please get in touch with your local Lloyd's Register office or contact