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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
) File No. EB-00-DT-801
Shepler's Inc. )
Mackinaw City, Michigan ) NAL/Acct. No.
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: March 27,
By the District Director, Detroit Office, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
("NAL"), we find that Shepler's Inc. has apparently violated the
Great Lakes Agreement (``GLA'')1 and Sections 80.953(a) and
80.953(b) of the Commission's Rules2 (the ``Rules'') as a result
of their vessels the ``Capt. Shepler'' and ``Wyandot'' navigating
the Great Lakes without having obtained the annual GLA inspection
and certification of their marine VHF radiotelephone equipment.
We conclude that Shepler's Inc. is apparently liable for a
forfeiture in the amount of two thousand two hundred dollars
2. The GLA requires, among other things, that all vessels
65 feet or over in length (20 meters), most towing vessels, and
vessels carrying more than six passengers for hire be equipped
with a marine VHF radiotelephone installation when navigated on
the Great Lakes. The GLA is intended to promote safety of life
and property on the Great Lakes by means of radio and requires
the radiotelephone installation be inspected and certified at
least once every thirteen months. The inspection of GLA subject
vessels may be performed by the holder of an FCC General
Radiotelephone Operator License, GMDSS Radio Maintainer's
License, Second Class Radiotelegraph Operator's Certificate or
First Class Radiotelegraph Operator's Certificate.
3. On September 28, 2000, an FCC agent from the Detroit
Office conducted random inspections of vessels subject to the GLA
in Mackinaw City, Michigan to determine whether GLA inspections
were being conducted and certified. The agent observed the
``Capt. Shepler'' returning from a voyage on the Great Lakes
while carrying passengers between Mackinac Island, Michigan and
Mackinaw City, Michigan. The agent inspected the ``Capt.
Shepler'' and determined that the vessel did not have a current
GLA safety inspection and certification. The agent also
determined that a second vessel, the ``Wyandot,'' did not have a
current GLA safety inspection and certification.
4. On October 31, 2000, the Detroit District Director
issued an Official Notice of Violation (``NOV'') to Shepler's
Inc., P.O. Box 250, Mackinaw City, Michigan 49701, for failure to
have their vessels ``Capt. Shepler'' and ``Wyandot'' inspected
under the GLA. As a follow up to this, copies of ship
radiotelephone logs were requested and a subsequent review of
these logs indicated that the ``Captain Shepler'' had also
navigated on at least September 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24,
2000, without a valid GLA certificate. The logs also indicated
that the ``Wyandot'' had navigated on at least September 20, 22,
and 24, 2000 without a valid GLA certificate.
5. In order to promote the safety of life and property on
the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Agreement and Sections 80.953(a)
and 80.953(b) of the Rules require that vessels subject to the
GLA have the radiotelephone installation inspected and certified
6. Based on the evidence before us, we find that Shepler's
Inc. has willfully3 and repeatedly4 violated the Great Lakes
Agreement and Sections 80.953(a) and 80.953(b) of the
Commission's Rules as a result of their vessel the ``Capt.
Shepler'' having navigated the Great Lakes on September 18, 19,
20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 28, 2000, and their vessel the ``Wyandot''
having navigated the Great Lakes on September 20, 22, and 24,
2000 without having had their radiotelephone installation
inspected and certified as required by the Great Lakes Agreement.
The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of
Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture
Guidelines, 12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17113 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC
Rcd 303(1999) (``Forfeiture Policy Statement'')5, sets the base
forfeiture amount at five hundred dollars ($500) per day for
violating the Great Lakes Agreement. In assessing the monetary
forfeiture amount, we must take into account the statutory
factors set forth in Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act,6 which
include 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. Although the record
reveals that Shepler's Inc. has an overall history of compliance
and showed good faith surrounding the violations by the voluntary
disclosure of information, the violation is egregious. Applying
the Policy Statement and the statutory factors to the instant
case and applying the inflation adjustments, we believe that a
two thousand two hundred dollar ($2,200) monetary forfeiture is
IV. Ordering Clauses
7. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
506(a) of the Act7 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the
Rules8, Shepler's Inc. is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT
LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of two thousand two
hundred dollars ($2,200) for willfully violating the Great Lakes
Agreement and Sections 80.953(a) and 80.953(b) of the
8. 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, Shepler's Inc. SHALL PAY the
full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written
statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed
9. 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 should note the
NAL/Acct. No. 200132360002.
10. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Technical and
Public Safety Division, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.
20554 and MUST INCLUDE THE NAL/Acct. No. 200132360002.
11. 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
12. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice
of Apparent Liability under an installment plan should be sent
to: Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.9
13. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF
APPARENT LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return
Receipt Requested, to Shepler's Inc., P.O. Box 250, Mackinaw
City, Michigan 49701.
James A. Bridgewater
1 Agreement Between Canada and the United States for the
Promotion of Safety on the Great Lakes by Means of Radio T.I.A.S.
7837, amended T.I.A.S. 9352 (Great Lakes Agreement).
2 47 C.F.R. §§ 80.953(a), 80.953(b).
3 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).
4 Section 312(f)(2), which also applies to Section 503(b),
provides: [t]he 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.
547 C.F.R. § 1.80.
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(d).
7 47 U.S.C. § 507(a).
8 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, and 1.80.
9 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.