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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
Princess K Fishing Corporation
Licensee of Ship Radio Station File Number: EB-08-HL-0044
NAL/Acct. No.: 200832860001
Fishing Vessel PRINCESS K )
Honolulu, Hawaii )
Documentation # 511130 )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: May 29, 2008
By the Resident Agent, Honolulu Office, Western Region, Enforcement
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
that Princess K Fishing Corporation, licensee of ship radio station
WDB8248, in Honolulu, Hawaii, apparently willfully and repeatedly
violated Section 80.89(a) of the Commission's Rules ("Rules") by
falsely activating an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon
("EPIRB"), thereby engaging in superfluous communications resulting in
the transmission of false distress communications. We conclude,
pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as
amended ("Act"), that Princess K Fishing Corporation is apparently
liable for a forfeiture in the amount of eight thousand dollars
2. On February 26, 2008, the Enforcement Bureau's Honolulu Resident Agent
Office received a violation report ("USCG Report") from the U. S.
Coast Guard Fourteenth District Command Center ("D14CC"). The USCG
Report detailed that on February 25, 2008, the DC14CC was notified of
an active 406.025 MHz EPIRB in their area of responsibility via the
Search and Rescue Satellite ("SARSAT") system. The D14CC determined
that the EPIRB was registered to the fishing vessel PRINCESS K, home
ported in Honolulu, Hawaii. Princess K Fishing Corporation is the
owner of the fishing vessel PRINCESS K, and the licensee of ship radio
station WDB8248, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The SARSAT fix located the EPIRB
to open seas approximately 150 nautical miles north by northeast of
Oahu, Hawaii. USCG D14CC efforts to contact the fishing vessel
PRINCESS K, which had five people aboard, including an executive of
the Princess K Fishing Corporation on board, through urgent broadcasts
on several HF frequencies, were unavailing. In accordance with their
protocol, the D14CC launched an HC-130 aircraft from Barber's Point
Air Station, Hawaii. The aircraft located the fishing vessel PRINCESS
K approximately 18 nautical miles away from where the EPIRB had been
located. Upon contacting the fishing vessel on the VHF marine channel
16, after a low pass, the master of fishing vessel PRINCESS K stated
that they had thrown the old EPIRB (the one detected by the SARSAT
system) overboard because they had purchased and installed a new one.
There was no actual distress.
3. The USCG reported the false activation by the fishing vessel PRINCESS
K to the Honolulu Office. According to the USCG Report, the D14CC
expended 3.5 fixed wing aircraft hours and 6 Command Center hours at a
cost of over $35,000 to determine that this was a false alert. The
D14CC also reported to the Honolulu Office that the old EPIRB was not
retrieved and continued transmitting until March 1, 2008, potentially
masking an actual search and rescue alert.
4. On March 26, 2008, when the fishing vessel PRINCESS K was back in port
in Honolulu, agents from the Honolulu Office, along with Coast Guard
personnel, interviewed the Princess K Fishing Corporation executive,
who was onboard the fishing vessel PRINCESS K during the incident
detailed in the USCG Report. The Princess K Fishing Corporation
executive stated that a new EPIRB was purchased on Oahu and installed
while they were ported in Hilo, Hawaii. The executive stated that he
did not have time to return the old EPIRB, so he placed it in a
plastic bag and put it in storage on the vessel. Later while at sea,
he advised a crew member to take care of the bag and the crew member
threw it overboard, thereby activating the unit. The executive stated
that he did not realize this incident occurred until the Coast Guard
aircraft, while hovering over his vessel, contacted him during their
search. He explained that he was not able to retrieve the old EPIRB
even though Coast Guard advised that the EPIRB was still continuing to
5. Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who willfully or
repeatedly fails to comply substantially with the terms and conditions
of any license, or willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with any of
the provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation or order issued
by the Commission thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture
penalty. The term "willful" as used in Section 503(b) has been
interpreted to mean simply that the acts or omissions are committed
knowingly. The term "repeated" means the commission or omission of
such act more than once or for more than one day.
6. Section 80.89(a) of the Rules states that "stations must not engage in
superfluous radio communication." An EPIRB station is "a station in
the maritime mobile service the emissions of which are intended to
facilitate search and rescue operations." A distress alert, such as
one from an EPIRB, is considered false "if it was transmitted without
any indication that a mobile unit or person was in distress and
required immediate assistance." The Rules require that "[i]f for any
reason an EPIRB is activated inadvertently [the licensee shall]
immediately contact the nearest U.S. Coast Guard unit or appropriate
rescue coordination center by telephone, radio or ship earth station
and cancel the distress alert."
7. False activations of EPIRBs and other emergency locating devices, such
as emergency locator transmitters ("ELTs") have the potential to
severely impact the search and rescue network, resulting in responder
resources being wasted and misdirected. Air searches for false EPIRB
and ELT activations cost the Coast Guard thousands of dollars per
search hour, as demonstrated by the USCG Report. Additional costs are
incurred by rescue coordination centers, support personnel, and ground
search and rescue responders. False activations also can cause harmful
interference to the SARSAT system and to airplanes and vessels in the
vicinity of the signal. Additionally, a false activation may conceal
or prevent timely response to a legitimate distress signal.
8. On February 25, 2008, Princess K Fishing Corporation's fishing vessel
PRINCESS K activated an EPIRB by dumping it off the fishing vessel and
into the ocean 150 nautical miles north by northeast of Oahu, Hawaii.
The transmissions emanating from this EPIRB caused the U.S. Coast
Guard to expend valuable resources to locate the fishing vessel
PRINCESS K only to find that there was no emergency and that the EPIRB
station was engaging in superfluous communications caused by the
actions of those onboard the fishing vessel PRINCESS K, including an
executive of the Princess K Fishing Corporation. Additionally, the
fishing vessel PRINCESS K took no action to contact the Coast Guard
concerning this false distress alert. Consequently, we find that the
Princess K Fishing Corporation's violation was willful. These
superfluous communications continued to be located by the SARSAT
system until March 1, 2008, therefore we find these violations were
repeated. Based on the evidence before us, we find that Princess K
Fishing Corporation apparently willfully and repeatedly violated
Section 80.89(a) of the Rules by engaging in superfluous radio
communications resulting in the transmission of false distress
9. Pursuant to The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment
of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines,
("Forfeiture Policy Statement"), and Section 1.80 of the Rules, the
base forfeiture amount for transmitting false distress communications
is $8,000. 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 Act, which include the nature, circumstances,
extent, and gravity of the violations, and with respect to the
violator, the degree of culpability, and history of prior offenses,
ability to pay, and other such matters as justice may require.
Applying the Forfeiture Policy Statement, Section 1.80, and the
statutory factors to the instant case, we conclude that Princess K
Fishing Corporation is apparently liable for an $8,000 forfeiture.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311,
0.314 and 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, Princess K Fishing
Corporation is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A
FORFEITURE in the amount of eight thousand dollars ($8,000) for
violations of Section 80.89(a) of the Rules.
11. 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 for Forfeiture, Princess K Fishing
Corporation SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or
SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of
the proposed forfeiture.
12. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument,
payable to the order of the Federal Communications Commission. The
payment must include the NAL/Account Number and FRN Number referenced
above. Payment by check or money order may be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000.
Payment by overnight mail may be sent to U.S. Bank - Government
Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO
63101. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number 021030004,
receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account number 27000001. For payment by
credit card, an FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be submitted.
When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the NAL/Account number in
block number 23A (call sign/other ID), and enter the letters "FORF" in
block number 24A (payment type code). Requests for full payment under
an installment plan should be sent to: Chief Financial Officer --
Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington,
D.C. 20554. Please contact the Financial Operations Group Help
Desk at 1-877-480-3201 or Email: ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov with any
questions regarding payment procedures. Princess K Fishing
Corporation shall also send electronic notification on the date said
payment is made to WR-Response@fcc.gov.
13. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal Communications
Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Western Region, Honolulu Office, P.O.
Box 971030, Waipahu, Hawaii, 96797-1030 and must include the NAL/Acct.
No. referenced in the caption. An electronic copy shall be sent to
14. 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 submitted.
15. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt
Requested, and regular mail, to Princess K Fishing Corporation.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
47 C.F.R. S: 80.89(a).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(1), which applies to
violations for which forfeitures are assessed under 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 or any rule or regulation of the Commission
authorized by this Act...." See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6
FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).
Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(2), which also applies
to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under Section 503(b) of
the Act, provides that "[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."
47 C.F.R. S: 80.89(a).
47 C.F.R. S: 80.5.
47 C.F.R. S: 80.334.
47 C.F.R. S: 80.335(e).
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 87.193 - 87.199.
See, e.g., Grant Lam, 22 FCC Rcd 6341 (EB 2007); AMERI-KING Corporation,
23 FCC Rcd 2616 (EB 2008); Compatible Electronics, 23 FCC Rcd 2621 (EB
12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(E).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b), 47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80, 80.89(a).
See 47 C.F.R. S: 1.1914.
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Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission