Onderwerp: Bezoek-historie

Res.A.814(19) Guidelines for the avoidance of false distress alerts
Geldigheid:23-11-1995 t/m 31-12-2023Versie:vergelijk Status: Was geldig

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RECALLING Article 15(j) of the Convention on the International Maritime Organization concerning the functions of the Assembly in relation to regulations and guidelines concerning maritime safety and the prevention and control of marine pollution from ships,

CONSIDERING problems reported by Member Governments in reward to the proper operation of the GMDSS, in particular that false distress alerts are becoming a major obstacle to the effcient operation of search and rescue (SAR) services,

RECALLING that the GMDSS was developed on the basis of resolution 6 of the International Conference on Maritime Search and Rescue, 1979, and that according to that resolution the GMDSS should provide, among other things, the essential radio elements of the international SAR plan,

NOTING that the excessive amount of false distress alerts imposes a considerable and unnecessary burden on Rescue Co-ordination Centres (RCCs), may have adverse effects on seafarers' confidence in the GMDSS, and could also have a potentially serious impact on real distress situations and on safety of life at sea,

BEING AWARE that, if a substantive reduction in the number of false distress alerts now occurring is not achieved in the near future, the quality and efficiency of SAR organizations may be jeopardized,

CONSIDERING that an urgent dissemination of some of the problems which have become evident to providers of rescue services would help to educate people and organizations involved and eventually contribute to a reduction in the number of false distress alerts,

CONSIDERING ALSO that Administrations, manufacturers, educators, users, providers of communications and rescue services, and all others concerned need guidance on ways and means of redo[ins false distress alerts,

HAVING CONSIDERED the recommendation made by the Maritime Safety Committee at its sixty-fifth session,

1. ADOPTS the Guidelines for Avoiding False Distress Alerts set out in the annex to the present resolution;

2. URGES Governments to bring these Guidelines to the attention of all concerned.

Annex Guidelines for the avoidance of false distress alerts

1 Administrations should:
.1 inform shipowners and seafarers about the implications of the rising number of false distress alerts;
.2 take steps to enable ships properly to register all GMDSS equipment, and ensure that this registration data is readily available to RCCs;
.3 consider establishing and using national enforcement measures to prosecute those who:
.3.1 inadvertently transmit a false distress alert without proper cancellation, or who fail to respond to a distress alert due to misuse or negligence;
.3.2 repeatedly transmit false distress alerts; and
.3.3 deliberately transmit false distress alerts;
.4 use the International Telecommunication Union violation reporting process for false distress alerts, or for failure to respond to a distress alert relayed from shore-to-ship;
.5 ensure that all relevant ship personnel know how GMDSS equipment operates, the importance of avoiding false distress alerts, the steps to be taken to prevent transmission of such false distress alerts, and the procedures to be followed when a false distress alert has been transmitted;
.6 inform type-approval authorities of false distress alert problems, in order to draw their attention to the testing and alerting functions of radio equipment during the type approval process;
.7 urge companies installing radio equipment to ensure that relevant ship personnel are made familiar with the operation of the installed equipment;
.8 investigate the cause when a specific model of GMDSS equipment repeatedly transmits unwanted distress alerts, and inform the appropriate organizations accordingly;
.9 ensure that surveyors and inspectors are informed about GMDSS equipment, and particularly about how to operate and test it without transmitting a false distress alert; and
.10 require that GMDSS radio operators be appropriately certificated.

2 Manufacturers, suppliers and installers should:
.1 design equipment for distress alerting so that:
.1.1 it will not be possible to transmit a distress alert unintentionally;
.1.2 the panel for emergency operation is separated from the one for normal operation and is partially fitted with a cover, and the switches on the panel are clearly classified by colouring; and
.1.3 there are standardized arrangements of operation panels and operational procedures;
.2 design test features so that the testing of GMDSS equipment will not result in the transmission of false distress alerts;
.3 ensure that any distress alert activation is indicated visually or acoustically, or both and shows that the equipment is transmitting a distress alert until manually deactivated;
.4 ensure that the satellite EPIRB position on board, installations (including the release and activation mechanisms) and handling procedures preclude unwanted activation (designing the EPIRB so that when it is out of its bracket it must also be immersed in water to activate automatically, and so that, when operated manually, a two-step activation action is required);
.5 provide clear and precise operational instructions that are easy to understand (maintenance and operational instructions should be separated, and should be written both in English and in any other language deemed necessary);
.6 ensure that when any GMDSS equipment has been installed, the necessary instructions are given to ship personnel, drawing specific attention to operational procedures (a record should be kept that such instructions have been given); and
.7 ensure that supply and installation personnel understand how the GMDSS works, and the consequences of transmitting a false distress alert.

3 Trainers and educators should:
.1 ensure that maritime education centres are informed about false distress alert problems and their implications for SAR, the GMDSS, etc., and procedures to be followed if a false distress alert is transmitted, and include them in their teaching programmes;
.2 obtain and use actual case histories as examples;
.3 emphasize the need to avoid false distress alerts; and
.4 ensure that no inadvertent transmission of a false distress alert occurs when training on GMDSS equipment.

4 Companies, masters and seafarers should, as appropriate:
.1 ensure that all GMDSS certificated personnel responsible for sending a distress alert have been instructed about and are competent to operate, the particular radio equipment on the ship;
.2 ensure that the person or persons responsible for communications during distress incidents give the necessary instructions and information to all crew members on how to use GMDSS equipment to send a distress alert;
.3 ensure that as part of each "abandon ship" drill, instruction is given on how emergency equipment should be used to provide GMDSS functions;
.4 ensure that GMDSS equipment testing is only undertaken under the supervision of the person responsible for communications during distress incidents;
.5 ensure that GMDSS equipment testing or drills are never allowed to cause false distress alerts;
.6 ensure that encoded identities of satellite EPIRBs, which are used by SAR personnel responding to emergencies, are properly registered in a database accessible 24 hours a day or automatically provided to SAR authorities (masters should confirm that their EPIRBs have been registered with such a database, to help SAR services identify the ship in the event of distress and rapidly obtain other information which will enable them to respond appropriately);
.7 ensure that EPIRB, Inmarsat and DSC registration data is immediately updated if there is any change in information relating to the ship such as owner, name or flag and that the necessary action is taken to reprogramme the ships new data in the GMDSS equipment concerned;
.8 ensure that, for new ships, positions for installing EPIRBs are considered at the earliest stage of ship design and construction;
.9 ensure that satellite EPIRBs are carefully installed in accordance with manufacturers' instructions and using qualified personnel (sometimes satellite EPIRBs are damaged or broken due to improper handling or installation. They must be installed in a location that will enable then to float free and automatically activate if the ship sinks. Care must be taken to ensure that they are not tampered with or accidentally activated. If the coding has to be changed or the batteries serviced, manufacturers' requirements must be strictly followed. There have been cases where EPIRB lanyards were attached to the ship so that the EPIRB could not float free; lanyards are only to be used by survivors for securing the EPIRB to a survival craft or person in water);
.10 ensure that EPIRBs are not activated if assistance is already immediately available (EPIRBs are intended to call for assistance if the ship is unable to obtain help by other means, and to provide position information and homing signals for SAR units);
.11 ensure that, if a distress alert has been accidentally transmitted, the ship makes every reasonable attempt to communicate with the RCC by any means to cancel the false distress alert using the procedures given in the appendix;
.12 ensure that, if possible, after emergency use, the EPIRB is retrieved and deactivated; and
.13 ensure that when an EPIRB is damaged and needs to be disposed of, if a ship is sold for scrap, or if for any other reason a satellite EPIRB will no longer be used, the satellite EPIRB is made inoperable, either by removing its battery and, if possible, returning it to the manufacturer, or by demolishing it.

Note :If the EPIRB is returned to the manufacturer, it should be wrapped in tin foil to prevent transmission of signals during shipment.

Appendix Instructions for mariners and others* on how to cancel a false distress alert


.1 switch off transmitter immediately **;
.2 switch equipment on and set to Channel 16; and
.3 make broadcast to "All Stations" giving the ship's name, call sign and DSC number, and cancel the false distress alert.
    All Stations, All Stations, All Stations
    This is NAME, CALL SIGN,
    Cancel my distress alert of
    = Master NAME, CALL SIGN,
    2 MF
    .1 switch off equipment immediately **;
    .2 switch equipment on and tune for radiotelephony transmission on 2,182 kHz; and
    .3 make broadcast to "All Stations" giving the ship's name, call sign and DSC number, and cancel the false distress alert.
      All Stations, All Stations, All Stations
      This is NAME, CALL SIGN,

      Cancel my distress alert of
      = Master NAME, CALL SIGN,
      3 HF
      As for MF, but the alert must be cancelled on all the frequency bands on which it was transmitted. Hence, in stage 2.2 the transmitter should be tuned consecutively to the radiotelephony distress frequencies in the 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 MHz bands, as necessary.

      4 Inmarsat-C
      Notify the appropriate RCC to cancel the alert by sending a distress priority message via the same CES through which the false distress alert was sent.
        Example of message
        Cancel my Inmarsat-C distress
        alert of DATE, TIME UTC
        = Master +
        5 EPIRBs
        If for any reason an EPIRB is activated accidentally, the ship should contact the nearest coast station or an appropriate coast earth station or RCC and cancel the distress alert.

        6 General
        6.1 Notwithstanding the above, ships may use any means available to them to inform the appropriate authorities that a false distress alert has been transmitted and should be cancelled.
        6.2 No action will normally be taken against any ship or mariner for reporting and cancelling a false distress alert. However, in view of the serious consequences of false alerts, and the strict ban on their transmission, Governments may prosecute in cases of repeated violations.

        * Appropriate signals should precede these messages in accordance with the ITU Radio Regulations chapter NIX.
        ** This applies when the false alert is detected during transmission.
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