Saturday, September 15, 2007

USCG Tells Mariners To Identify Themselves

The US Coast Guard has warned mariners to make sure they enter their 9-digit Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number into marine radios equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) and Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).

The Coast Guard says: “Statistics show that many mariners in distress do not properly identify themselves nor provide a precise location when radioing for help which delays rescue services in arriving at the scene quickly and providing the assistance needed.” It adds that many marine communication devices require the MMSI to identify the user of the device.

The USCG and the National Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Task Force is concerned that many users of these devices are not obtaining, registering and/or properly entering their assigned MMSI into these devices. Lack of an MMSI will make some of these devices inoperable, such as AIS, or incapable of operating advanced features or distress alerting capabilities of the device. The Coast Guard cautions: “Leaving the MMSI unprogrammed, entering a false identity or not updating a previously-programmed device with your own identity may delay a rescue and under certain situations is unlawful.”