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NTRC donates to Customs and Excise Department

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The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) has donated two Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radios to the Customs and Excise Department.{{more}}

Universal Service Fund (USF) administrator at the NTRC Kyron Duncan handed over the radios to Enforcement supervisor at the Customs and Excise Department Lorraine Williams last Friday, May 5.

After collecting the radios at the NTRC’s conference room, located in the National Insurance Services (NIS) building on Upper Bay Street, Williams said that the radios will be used as a communication tool between the department’s patrolling vessels and the Customs’ station at Wallilabou.

He said that cellular phones are usually used for communication between land and sea, but there are areas at sea where there is no cell coverage.

“This donation will assist us during patrols. The radios are a communication improvement, because, sometimes, when the guys are at sea, we can’t get them because the cell phone drops out in certain areas. The radios will enhance range,” said Williams.

Apart from being used as an effective communication tool, the GMDSS radio allows a vessel in distress at sea to send out an SOS signal just by pressing a button. The button press will send a message to the Coastguard which will tell rescuers exactly where a boat in distress is located and who exactly the boat belongs to.

The GMDSS service was officially launched on Tuesday, October 2, 2011, at the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard base at Calliaqua.

The GMDSS works on channel 70, while the NTRC has installed the Legacy Channel 16. A third channel that can be switched to any of the maritime VHF channels is also available on the radio, while an additional channel allows for calls to be made to land lines or mobile phones.

USF administrator Duncan said that the Customs and Excise Department requested the radios and the NTRC was happy to assist them.

Duncan said that the radios will also be used to communicate with the yachts that dock at Wallilabou.

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