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Subelement A
General Information and System Overview:
Section 1
Fundamental Concepts:
What is the fundamental concept of the GMDSS?
  • GMDSS utilizes automated systems and satellite technology to improve emergency communications for the world's shipping industry.
  • It is intended to automate and improve existing digital selective calling procedures and techniques.
  • It is intended to provide more effective but lower cost commercial communications.
  • It is intended to provide compulsory vessels with a collision avoidance system when they are operating in waters that are also occupied by non-compulsory vessels.
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The primary purpose of the GMDSS is:
  • Allow more effective control of SAR situations by vessels.
  • Automate and improve emergency communications for the world's shipping industry.
  • Provide additional shipboard systems for more effective company communications.
  • Effective and inexpensive communications.
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What is the basic concept of GMDSS?
  • Shoreside authorities will rely on reports from nearby vessels to become aware of Distress alerts.
  • Shoreside authorities and vessels can assist in a coordinated SAR operation only after the correct chain of DSC relays takes place.
  • SAR authorities ashore can be alerted to a Distress situation & shipping in the vicinity can be requested to participate in SAR operations.
  • SAR authorities ashore wait to have EPIRB Distress alerts confirmed by satellite follow-on communications.
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GMDSS is primarily a system based on:
  • Ship-to-ship Distress communications using MF or HF radiotelephony.
  • VHF digital selective calling from ship to shore.
  • Distress, Urgency and Safety communications carried out by the use of narrow-band direct printing telegraphy.
  • The linking of search and rescue authorities ashore with shipping in the immediate vicinity of a ship in Distress or in need of assistance.
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What is the responsibility of compulsory GMDSS vessels?
  • Every vessel must be able to perform communications functions essential for its own safety and the safety of other vessels.
  • Vessels must transmit a DSC distress relay upon receipt of a DSC distress alert.
  • Only the vessels closest to a Distress incident must render assistance.
  • Vessels must immediately acknowledge all DSC distress alerts.
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GMDSS is required for which of the following?
  • All vessels capable of international voyages.
  • SOLAS Convention ships of 300 gross tonnage or more.
  • Vessels operating outside of the range of VHF coast radio stations.
  • Coastal vessels of less than 300 gross tons.
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