I have been out of the CCIR/ITU/IMO loop for a couple of decades now but I recall that 2187.5 kHz was designated as the mandatory DSC distress and safety alerting/watchkeeping frequency for GMDSS Area 2 (within MF range of a shore station) and 2177.0 kHz was the DSC calling frequency for other, routine, calls to ships or shore stations.
How that has worked out in practice I don't know.
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