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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
MariTEL Mississippi River, Inc. ) File Number EB-02-OR-052
Licensee of Maritime Public ) NAL/Acct.No. 200232620006
Coast Station WPOJ535 near ) FRN 0003-4734-51
Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana )
Washington, DC )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: July 3, 2002
By the Enforcement Bureau, New Orleans Office:
1.In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, we
find that MariTEL Mississippi River, Inc. (``MariTEL''), licensee
of public coast station WPOJ535, willfully and repeatedly
violated Sections 1.5 and 80.90 of the Commission's Rules
(``Rules''),1 by failing to ensure that correspondence from the
Commission mailed to the address of record would reach the
licensee, and by failing to immediately suspend transmissions
upon detection of a transmitter malfunction. We conclude that
MariTEL is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of
seven thousand dollars ($7,000).
2.On April 2, 2002, the FCC Enforcement Bureau's New
Orleans Field Office (``New Orleans Office'') received a
complaint from the United States Coast Guard in Gulfport,
Mississippi that a continuous radio signal on VHF marine channel
16 (156.8 MHz) was interfering with their ability to communicate
with vessels. Agents from the New Orleans Office responded in a
radio direction finding vehicle and determined that the source of
the interfering signal was a malfunctioning transmitter operated
by MariTEL, call sign WPOJ535, from an antenna structure near
Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana. The agents contacted Mark Watros
of MariTEL by telephone at approximately 6:30 PM, advised him of
the malfunctioning transmitter, and requested that the
transmissions be immediately suspended. However, the
transmissions from MariTEL's transmitter were not suspended until
7:20 AM on April 3, 2002, more than 12 hours after MariTEL was
notified of the malfunction. During this period, interference
was present on the VHF marine distress, safety and calling
3.On April 12, 2002, a Notice of Violation (``NOV'') was
mailed to the address of record for MariTEL's license WPOJ535
noting a violation of Section 80.90 of the Rules. The NOV was
returned by the United States Post Office (``Post Office'')
marked ``Attempted Not Known.''
4.On April 30, 2002, the NOV was again mailed to the
address of record and a second address obtained from MariTEL.
The copy sent to the address of record was again returned by the
Post Office marked ``Attempted Not Known.'' No reply to either
correspondence has been received.
5.Section 1.5 of the Rules requires that licensees furnish
the Commission with a mailing address for the Commission to use
to serve correspondence to the licensee and additionally to take
steps to make sure Commission correspondence delivered to such
address reaches the licensee. Correspondence sent to MariTEL's
address of record on April 12, 2002, and April 30, 2002, was
returned by the Post Office as undeliverable.
6.Section 80.90 of the Rules requires that transmission be
suspended immediately upon detection of a transmitter
malfunction, and remain suspended until the malfunction can be
corrected. Transmissions from a defective transmitter causing
interference to the VHF marine safety, distress, and calling
channels were reported to MariTEL at approximately 6:30 PM on
April 2, 2002, but were not suspended until 7:20 AM the next day.
7.Based on the evidence before us, we find MariTEL
Mississippi River, Inc. willfully2 and repeatedly3 violated
Sections 1.5 and 80.90 of the Rules by failing to insure that
Commission correspondence sent to the address provided by the
licensee is delivered to the licensee, and failing to suspend
transmissions immediately upon detecting a malfunctioning
8.Pursuant to Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules, the base
forfeiture amount for failure to maintain an accurate mailing
address for the Commission's use (failure to file required forms
or information) is $3,000, and failure to immediately suspend
transmitter operations (unauthorized emission) is $4,000.4
Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Communications Act of 1934, as
amended (``Act''), requires us to take into account ``...the
nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation, 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.''5 Considering the entire record and
applying the statutory factors listed above, this case warrants a
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
9.Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act,6 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the
Commission's Rules,7 MariTEL Mississippi River, Inc. is hereby
NOTIFIED of its APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount
of seven thousand dollars ($7,000) for willful and repeated
violation of Sections 1.5 and 80.90 of the Commission's Rules.
10. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Commission's Rules, within thirty days of the release date of
this Notice of Apparent Liability, MariTEL Mississippi River,
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 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 must include
the FRN and NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the letterhead above.
12. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Office of the Secretary, 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554, Attn: Enforcement Bureau-
Technical & Public Safety Division, and MUST INCLUDE THE
NAL/Acct. No. and FRN referenced in the letterhead above.
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 (``GAAP'');
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
14. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice
of Apparent Liability under an installment plan should be sent
to: Federal Communications Commission, Chief, Revenue and
Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington,
15. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this Notice of
Apparent Liability shall be sent by regular mail and Certified
Mail Return Receipt Requested to MariTEL Mississippi River, Inc.
at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. An
additional copy shall be sent by regular mail and Certified Mail
Return Receipt Request to MariTEL at 2318 Pass Road, Suite 6,
Biloxi, Mississippi 39531.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
James C. Hawkins
District Director, New Orleans Office
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.5, 80.90.
2 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. §312(f)(1), which
applies equally 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
3 The term ``repeated,'' when used with reference to the
commission or omission of any act, ``means the commission or
omission of such act more than once or, if such commission or
omission is continuous, for more than one day.''
4 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4).
5 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
7 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
8 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.