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Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
GNOTS Reserve, Inc. )
WXS4872 ) File No. EB-00-
Destrehan, Louisiana ) NAL/Acct . No.
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: August 23, 2000
By the Enforcement Bureau, New Orleans Field Office:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, we
find that GNOTS Reserve, Inc. (``GNOTS''), licensee of marine
fleet license WXS4872, has apparently violated Section 80.373(f)
of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'') by operating radio
transmitting equipment on a frequency not authorized by this
section.1 We conclude that GNOTS is apparently liable for
forfeiture in the amount of four thousand dollars ($4,000).
2. GNOTS operates several towboats in the Mississippi
River under marine fleet license WXS4872, including the vessels
TOMCAT and KOOLCAT. A marine fleet license authorizes vessels
covered by the license to transmit on certain VHF marine channels
as specified in Section 80.373(f) of the Rules.
3. On May 12, 1999, an agent from the Commission's New
Orleans Field Office (``Field Office''), observed transmissions
on a channel not permitted by Section 80.373(f) of the Rules
(156.075 MHz). Those transmissions were determined to be coming
from the vessel TOMCAT.
4. On May 10, 2000, an agent from the Field Office again
observed transmissions on a channel not permitted by Section
80.373(f) of the Rules (157.175 MHz). Those transmissions were
determined to be coming from the vessel KOOLCAT.
5. On May 18, 2000, GNOTS was sent a Notice of Violation
(``NOV'') for operating on a frequency not authorized by the
Rules. On June 13, 2000, GNOTS submitted a reply to the NOV.
6. Section 80.373(f) of the Rules lists all frequencies
authorized for use between ship and private coast stations in the
VHF marine band (156-162 MHz). The vessels TOMCAT and KOOLCAT
were not using these frequencies when the Field Office agent
observed them on May 12, 1999 and May 10, 2000, respectively.
Therefore, those transmissions were not authorized for use under
the marine fleet station license granted to GNOTS by the
Commission. In its June 13, 2000 reply to the NOV, GNOTS states
that all of its vessel operators have been informed of the
violation and sternly warned not to operate on unauthorized
frequencies. However, while this action is commendable, GNOTS
was previously warned about operation on unauthorized frequencies
by letter dated May 13, 1999, following the incident involving
the vessel TOMCAT. In addition, this warning letter included a
listing of properly authorized frequencies for use by ship and
private coast stations.
7. Based on the evidence before us, we find that on May
10, 2000, GNOTS willfully2 violated Section 80.373(f) of the
Rules by operating radio transmitting equipment on a frequency
that was not authorized.
8. Pursuant to Section 1.80 of the Rules, Guidelines for
Assessing Forfeitures, the base forfeiture amount for operation
on an unauthorized frequency is $4,000.3 In assessing the
monetary forfeiture amount, we must also take into account the
statutory factors set forth in Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the
Communications Act of 1934 (``Act''), as amended, which include
the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the
violation(s), and with respect to the violator, the degree of
culpability, any history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and
other such matters as justice may require.4 Applying Section
1.80 of the Rules and statutory factors to the instant case, a
$4,000 forfeiture is warranted.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
9. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act,5 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the
Commission's Rules,6 GNOTS Reserve, Inc., is hereby NOTIFIED of
their APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of four
thousand dollars ($4,000) for violating Section 80.373(f) of the
Rules, 47 C.F.R. § 80.373(f).
10. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Rules, within
thirty days of the release date of this NOTICE OF APPARENT
LIABILITY, GNOTS Reserve, Inc., SHALL PAY the full amount of the
proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking
reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
11. Payment of the forfeiture may be made by credit card
through the Commission's Credit and Debt Management Center at
(202) 418-1995 or by mailing a check or similar instrument,
payable to the order of the Federal Communications Commission, to
the Forfeiture Collection Section, Finance Branch, Federal
Communications Commission, P.O. Box 73482, Chicago, Illinois
60673-7482. The payment should note the NAL/Acct. No. X3262009
12. The response if any must be mailed to Office of the
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554, ATTN: Enforcement Bureau - TPSD,
NAL/Acct. No. X3262009, and must include the NAL/Acct. No.
13. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling
a forfeiture in response to a claim of inability to pay unless
the petitioner submits: (1) federal tax returns for the most
recent three-year period; (2) financial statements prepared
according to generally accepted accounting practices; or (3) some
other reliable and objective documentation that accurately
reflects the petitioner's current financial status. Any claim of
inability to pay must specifically identify the basis for the
claim by reference to the financial documentation submitted.
14. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice
of Apparent Liability under an installment plan should be sent
to: Chief, Credit and Debt Management Center, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.7
15. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF
APPARENT LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return
Receipt Requested, to GNOTS Reserve, Inc., P. O. Box 1147,
Destrehan, Louisiana 70047.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
James C. Hawkins
New Orleans Field Office
1 47 C.F.R. § 80.373(f).
2 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1), which
applies to Section 503(b) of the Act, provides that ``[t]he term
`willful', when used with reference to the commission or omission
of any act, means the conscious and deliberate commission or
omission of such act, irrespective of any intent to violate any
provision of this Act ....'' See Southern California
Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).
3 47 C.F R. § 1.80.
4 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
5 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
6 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
7 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.