The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued amendments to its maritime communications regulations. Among other things, this rulemaking adopts rules requested by the U.S. Coast Guard to govern implementation of the Automatic Identification System (AIS); clarifies responsibilities of VHF public coast (VPC) stations that receive calls on the digital selective calling (DSC) distress frequency; prohibits ship operation
of any device capable of transmitting on a distress frequency without regulatory authorization; redesignates Channels 75 and 76 for communications related to port operations; requires small passenger vessels to have DSC capability; and updates requirements for ship radio installations to incorporate new international regulations. Some of the changes come into effect on January 7, 2005; others at later dates. 69 Fed. Reg. 64664 (HK Law).