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e-CFR data is current as of April 9, 2021

Title 50Chapter IIIPart 300Subpart O → §300.219


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS
Subpart O—Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species


§300.219   Vessel monitoring system.

(a) SAC and VMS Helpdesk contact information and business hours. For the purpose of this section, the following contact information applies:

(1) SAC. Address: 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818; telephone: 808-725-6100; facsimile: 808-725-6199; email: pidvms@noaa.gov; business hours: Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time.

(2) VMS Helpdesk. Telephone: 888-219-9228; email: ole.helpdesk@noaa.gov; business hours: Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern Time.

(b) Applicability. This section applies to any fishing vessel of the United States with a WCPFC Area Endorsement or for which a WCPFC Area Endorsement is required.

(c) Provision of vessel position information—(1) VMS unit. The vessel owner and operator shall install and maintain on the fishing vessel, in accordance with instructions provided by the SAC and the VMS unit manufacturer, a VMS unit that is type-approved by NMFS for fisheries governed under the Act. The vessel owner and operator shall arrange for a NMFS-approved mobile communications service provider to receive and relay transmissions from the VMS unit to NMFS. NMFS makes available lists of type-approved VMS units and approved mobile communications service providers. NMFS and the Commission are authorized to receive and relay transmissions from the VMS unit.

(2) VMS unit activation. If the VMS unit has not yet been activated as described in this paragraph, or if the VMS unit has been newly installed or reinstalled, or if the mobile communications service provider has changed since the previous activation, or if directed by the SAC, the vessel owner and operator shall, prior to the vessel leaving port:

(i) Turn on the VMS unit to make it operational;

(ii) Submit a written activation report, via mail, facsimile or e-mail, to the SAC, that includes: the vessel's name; the vessel's official number; the VMS unit manufacturer and identification number; and telephone, facsimile or e-mail contact information for the vessel owner or operator; and

(iii) Receive verbal or written confirmation from the SAC that proper transmissions are being received from the VMS unit.

(3) VMS unit operation. The vessel owner and operator shall continuously operate the VMS unit at all times, except that the VMS unit may be shut down while the vessel is at port or otherwise not at sea, provided that the owner and operator:

(i) Prior to shutting down the VMS unit, report to the SAC or the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement's VMS Helpdesk via facsimile or e-mail, the following information: the intent to shut down the VMS unit; the vessel's name; the vessel's official number; and telephone, facsimile or e-mail contact information for the vessel owner or operator; and

(ii) When turning the VMS unit back on, report to the SAC or the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement's VMS Helpdesk, via mail, facsimile or e-mail, the following information: that the VMS unit has been turned on; the vessel's name; the vessel's official number; and telephone, facsimile or e-mail contact information for the vessel owner or operator; and

(iii) Prior to leaving port, receive verbal or written confirmation from the SAC that proper transmissions are being received from the VMS unit.

(4) Failure of VMS unit. If the vessel owner or operator becomes aware that the VMS unit has become inoperable or that transmission of automatic position reports from the VMS unit has been interrupted, or if notified by NMFS or the USCG that automatic position reports are not being received from the VMS unit or that an inspection of the VMS unit has revealed a problem with the performance of the VMS unit, the vessel owner and operator shall comply with the following requirements:

(i) If the vessel is at port: The vessel owner or operator shall repair or replace the VMS unit and ensure it is operable before the vessel leaves port.

(ii) If the vessel is at sea: The vessel owner, operator, or designee shall contact the SAC by telephone, facsimile, or e-mail at the earliest opportunity during the SAC's business hours and identify the caller and vessel. The vessel operator shall follow the instructions provided by the SAC, which could include, but are not limited to: ceasing fishing, stowing fishing gear, returning to port, and/or submitting periodic position reports at specified intervals by other means; and, repair or replace the VMS unit and ensure it is operable before starting the next trip.

(5) Related VMS requirements. Installing, carrying and operating a VMS unit in compliance with the requirements in part 300 of this title, part 660 of this title, or part 665 of this title relating to the installation, carrying, and operation of VMS units shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section, provided that the VMS unit is operated continuously and at all times while the vessel is at sea, the VMS unit is type-approved by NMFS for fisheries governed under the Act, and the specific requirements of paragraph (c)(4) of this section are complied with. If the VMS unit is owned by NMFS, the requirement under paragraph (c)(4) of this section to repair or replace the VMS unit will be the responsibility of NMFS, but the vessel owner and operator shall be responsible for ensuring that the VMS unit is operable before leaving port or starting the next trip.

(d) Costs. The vessel owner and operator shall be responsible for all costs associated with the purchase, installation and maintenance of the VMS unit, and for all charges levied by the mobile communications service provider as necessary to ensure the transmission of automatic position reports to NMFS as required in paragraph (c) of this section. However, if the VMS unit is being carried and operated in compliance with the requirements in part 300 of this title, part 660 of this title, or part 665 of this title relating to the installation, carrying, and operation of VMS units, the vessel owner and operator shall not be responsible for costs that are the responsibility of NMFS under those regulations.

(e) Tampering. The vessel owner and operator shall ensure that the VMS unit is not tampered with, disabled, destroyed, damaged or operated improperly, and that its operation is not impeded or interfered with.

(f) Inspection. The vessel owner and operator shall make the VMS unit, including its antenna, connectors and antenna cable, available for inspection by authorized officers, by employees of the Commission, by persons appointed by the Executive Director of the Commission for this purpose, and, when the vessel is on the high seas in the Convention Area, by WCPFC inspectors.

(g) Access to data. The vessel owner and operator shall make the vessel's position data obtained from the VMS unit or other means immediately and always available for inspection by NOAA personnel, USCG personnel, and authorized officers, and shall make the vessel's position data for positions on the high seas in the Convention Area immediately and always available to WCPFC inspectors and the Commission.

(h) Communication devices. (1) To facilitate communication with management and enforcement authorities regarding the functioning of the VMS unit and other purposes, the vessel operator shall, while the vessel is at sea, carry on board and continuously monitor a two-way communication device that is capable of real-time communication with the SAC. The VMS unit used to fulfill the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section may not be used to satisfy this requirement. If the device is anything other than a radio, the contact number for the device must be provided to the Pacific Islands Regional Administrator on the application form for the WCPFC Area Endorsement in accordance with the requirements of §300.212.

(2) For the purpose of submitting the position reports that might be required in cases of VMS unit failure under paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section, the vessel operator shall, while the vessel is at sea, carry on board a communication device capable of transmitting, while the vessel is on the high seas in the Convention Area, communications by telephone, facsimile, e-mail, or radio to the Commission, in Pohnpei, Micronesia. The VMS unit used to fulfill the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section may not be used to satisfy this requirement. The same communication device may be able to satisfy the requirements of both this paragraph and paragraph (h)(1) of this section.

[75 FR 3351, Jan. 21, 2010, as amended at 79 FR 64110, Oct. 28, 2014; 80 FR 59048, Oct. 1, 2015]

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