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Norway issues EPIRB distress warning

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The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) has issued an alert advising that the Norwegian rescue services currently cannot receive distress messages from EPIRBs (emergency position-indicating radio beacons) transmitted via the Cospas-Sarsat system and programmed with MMSI 98MIDxxxx under the Norwegian country code 257/258/259.

Distress messages programmed this way are filtered out. This means that they will not be treated as distress messages, and no search and rescue operation will be initiated.

The NMA said this is an error affecting several Norwegian vessels with EPIRBs programmed with MMSI 98MIDxxxx on board their daughter craft. Vessels certified in accordance with the Polar Code and having daughter craft with EPIRBs need to be particularly alert.

Affected EPIRBs must be reprogrammed. Ship owners are requested to contact the EPIRB supplier as soon as possible.

“The Norwegian Maritime Authority will follow this matter closely and assess the need to issue a safety message,” said Leiv Andreas Austreid, Head of Section for Cargo Ships and Mobile Offshore Units.

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