More fishermen get training in GMDSS
October 21, 2016
More fishermen get training in GMDSS

Thanks to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), some fishermen from Barrouallie are now more knowledgeable about using the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio.

The NTRC, in 2016, embarked on a programme to educate local fishermen on the use of the radio and on Wednesday, October 19, a team from the NTRC, along with leading seaman with the St Vincent and the Grenadines Coastguard Grayson Stephens, went to the Learning Resource Centre at Barrouallie to conduct GMDSS radio training.{{more}}

In his presentation, leading seaman Stephens said that the GMDSS radios and other radios of its type are very important for persons who ply their trade at sea.

He said that while persons sometimes put their trust in cellular phones, these phones are only capable of transmitting up to 24 nautical miles from the nearest tower and that is on a good day.

“You might try to make a phone call and find you have no signal, so the GMDSS radio is important, as it offers 100 nautical miles and allows a next ship or fisherman to hear you apart from the base on land. A cell phone is not good enough because depending on where you are, the signal would not reach,” explained Stephens.

Senior Fisheries assistant Shamal Connell, who also attended the training, said that he is pleased to see a few fishermen turn up to the training, as it is usually hard to get them to attend such sessions.

“The radios are very important,” stressed Connell, who also urged fishermen to get a GPS, as these types of instruments can save their lives at sea.

“I hope that a lot of persons learn to use the radios and get the radios, as they can save your life at sea. If you don’t have any, try to get one; it is very important”, stated Connell.

Also addressing the group, Universal Service Fund (USF) administrator Kyron Duncan said that the NTRC has this year embarked on an initiative which is aimed at making sure that seamen are properly trained in the use of VHF radios and GMDSS.

Duncan said that in 2015, the NTRC did an impact assessment of the GMDSS system, in which they sought feedback from local fishermen who use the NTRC issued VHF radios and the GMDSS.

“We asked what we can do to better the service and it was outlined that showing how to operate the radios was very important, so we decided to embark on a programme where we go into the various fishing villages to show how to use the radio,” explained Duncan.

The training session gave the fishermen in attendance an opportunity to use the radio.

The NTRC introduced the GMDSS here in 2011, in collaboration with LIME (now FLOW). They also made available to local seafarers 100 VHF radios, designed to be used with the GMDSS at a subsidized price of EC$400. A number of the radios were also given away during NTRC raffles.