FCC Issues Notice on Maritime Communications

Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a notice stating that it is proposing a variety of regulatory amendments relating to maritime communications. It proposes to cease authorizing INMARSAT-E emergency position indicating radiobeacons (EPIRBs), due to the planned cessation of such service by Inmarsat. It seeks comment on whether to require Global Positioning System (GPS) capability in VHF-DSC handset units. It requests comment on whether to require carriage of at least one VHF handheld marine radio transceiver on all small passenger vessels that do not have a reserve power supply. It seeks comment on whether there is a need to make additional spectrum available for ship station facsimile communications, or to permit transmission of data on VHF maritime voice channels. It requests comment on whether there is any need to continue limiting the number of frequencies that may be assigned to any particular private coast station. It requests comment on updating standards for ship radar equipment. Finally, it proposes to add a rule clarifying that GMDSS vessels subject to subpart W (relating to GMDSS requirements on certain vessels) are required to test GMDSS radiotelephone equipment on a daily basis. Comments should be submitted by January 8, 2007. Source: HK Law

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