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).