The Tool That Could Help Save Your Life During a Maritime Emergency

When a maritime vessel gets into an accident or ends up in other distress, search/rescue operations being able to quickly get to the vessel's location and provide it with help is vital. One thing that can play a significant role in a distressed ship promptly getting help is a ship's radio.

So, one would hope that commercial vessel owners that have radios aboard their vessels would make sure the radio equipment is in proper condition, to help ensure it would work properly in the event the vessel's crew would need to use it to request help.

In addition to what sort of condition it is in, another thing that can impact how big of a help a ship's radio would be in the event of an emergency is how accurate the information it is transmitting is.

Vessels sometimes transmit automated radio messages, such as automated messages regarding navigational information and automated distress messages. Among the information such automated messages generally contain is a ship's Maritime Mobile Service Identity number.

In emergency situations, the MMSI number transmitted by a vessel can provide important information to rescuers. So, inaccurate MMSI information sent out by a vessel could have the potential to negatively affect search/rescue operations, such as creating difficulties in locating ships that are experiencing distress.

Recently, the FCC sent out a notice reminding vessel owners whose vessels transmit MMSI information of how important it is for MMSI information to be accurate. Unfortunately, inaccuracies regarding MMSI numbers appear to be more common than one would hope. On a typical day, MMSI inaccuracies are present for around 10,000 vessels, according to estimates from the U.S. Coast Guard.

So, one hopes commercial vessel owners will make sure to be vigilant in ensuring that the information (including the ship's MMSI number, if applicable) sent in emergency transmissions and other ship radio transmissions is accurate.

As a distressed ship promptly getting rescue help can be incredibly important, so too can ship workers promptly getting solid legal help and guidance following getting hurt in a vessel accident. Many complex compensation issues can arise in connection to shipboard injuries, and addressing such issues promptly can be key for a hurt maritime worker when it comes to preserving their rights.

Source: Federal Communications Commission, "FCC Enforcement Advisory - Marine Radio - Enforcement Bureau Reminds Mariners of Marine Radio Rules Protecting Public Safe," May 9, 2016

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