False Distress Alerts from 406 MHz emergency position indicating Radio Beacons


No. 27-NT(2)/95-III                                                                                                 Date : 7 Feb, 2007

SUBJECT :False Distress Alerts from 406 MHz emergency position indicating Radio Beacons

Attention of all Indian Ship owners, Masters and others concerned is drawn to the following circulars/ M.S. Notices issued by the Directorate on the subject matter:

  1. MS Notice no. 5 of 1998.
  2. MS Notice no. 14 of 1998.
  3. MS Notice no. 18 of 1998.
  4. MS Notice no. 19 of 1998.
  5. MS Notice no. 7 of 1999.
  6. MS Notice no. 5 of 2000.
  7. NT/RADIO/01/2005.

In spite of the above circulars, which provide the necessary guidance for the avoidance of false EPIRB alert transmissions, the Directorate has noted with deep concern that such false distress alerts continue to be activated at an alarming rate.

Special attention is drawn to MS Notice no. 5 of 2000, wherein it has been stated : 'Appreciating that the false distress alerts not only impose considerable and unnecessary burden on national exchequer by putting into service of coast guard and / or aircraft but also adversely affect seafarer's confidence in GMDSS and can have serious impact on real life distress situation and safety of life at sea, the Directorate, while reiterating the views expressed in M.S. Notice Nos. 5 of 1998, 14 of 1998, 18 of 1998, 19 of 1998 and 7 of 1999, cautions all concerned that when a false distress alert is received and on investigation it is found that it has been transmitted due to sheer negligence and carelessness by the ship's crew or agents of the servicing station and all the monitoring agencies covering the vessel's area of operation are not immediately informed, then the recovery of actual costs involved in putting into service of Search and Rescue machineries will have to be borne by the defaulter in addition to any fine that may be imposed.'

In view of the above, all Ship owners, Training Institutes, Workshops carrying out maintenance to EPIRBS, Masters and all concerned are hereby advised again to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the guidelines in the aforesaid circulars with special regard to guidelines for the avoidance of false distress alerts as prescribed in IMO Resolution A 814(19), registration/ de registration and de-activation procedures of EPIRBS and their obligations in the event of sale/ change of flag/ scrapping of a vessel.

All incidents involving false EPIRB alerts from Indian registered vessels must be reported to the Directorate through DG Commcentre by ship owners/ Masters/ installers/ workshops with findings of the reason/s for the activation of such alerts at the following e-mail id: dgcommcentre@satyammail.net


(Capt. R. Awasthi)

Nautical Surveyor-cum- Dy. Director General of Shipping (Technical)

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