MMSI Number Scheme

VHF Marine Band radios, protocol, radio communication theory, practical advice; AIS; DSC; MMSI; EPIRB.
jimh
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MMSI Number Scheme

Postby jimh » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:44 pm

The Radio Technical Commission for Maritime (RTCM) has proposed changes to the FCC Rules Part 80 ("Stations in the Maritime Services") to add a section, 80.16, to contain details about "Assignment and use of numeric identities including maritime mobile service identities (MMSI's)."

Specific MMSI number formats are used for the many various types of MMSI users. The details of MMSI number assignment are given in ITU-R M.585-7. See:

https://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r/rec/m/R-REC-M.585-7-201503-I!!PDF-E.pdf

A brief summary of the categories of interest to recreational boaters follows. "MID" means "maritime identity digits" and indicates the country or region. For example, the United States is presently assigned use of the MID codes 338, 366, 367, 368, and 369. X or Y means any digit 0 to 9. "LBR" means licensed by rule.

SHIP STATION LICENSE: MIDXXXXX0, issued by the FCC for a fee.

COAST STATION: 00MIDXXXX, issued by the FCC for a fee.

LICENSED BY RULE (LBR): MIDXXXXXX, issued by an LBR agency; fee may be charged.

VHF HANDHELD LBR: 8MIDXXXXX; issued by an LBR agency; a fee may be charged; the radio must have DSC with GNSS.

VHF HANDHELD DIVER'S RADIO PERSONAL LICENSE: 8MIDXXXXX, issued by the FCC or USCG for a fee; the radio must have DSC with GNSS.

CRAFT ASSOCIATED WITH A PARENT SHIP: 98MIDXXXX, issued by FCC or FCC agent.

AIS ATON: 99MIDXXXX, no fee but an FCC station license is required

AIS SART: 970XXYYY, where XX is the manufacturer ID and YYYY is issued by the manufacturer.

AIS MOB: 972XXYYY (as above)

AIS EPIRB: 974XXYYY (as above)

AIS SEARCH AND RESUCE AIRCRAFT: 111MIDNXX; N indicates type of aircraft; issued by the USCG

The Radio Technical Commission for Maritime proposed changes can be seen in their entirety at

https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/60001459667.pdf

For boaters who have an FCC-issued ship station license and MMSI, the number will always end in a zero. Boaters whose ship stations are licensed by rule will get an MMSI from an agency like BoatUS which can end in any digit except zero. At the moment the USA has been assigned five MID identities. This suggests that at this moment there are upper bounds to the number of FCC-issued MMSI identities; with only five digits available per MID, there appears to only be 99999 x 5 = 499,995 possible MMSI sequences. For licensed-by-rule boats, six digits are available but some of the available numbers (the ones ending in zero) are already taken by the FCC-licensed numbers. This suggests there are (999999 x 5) - 499,995 = 4,500,000 possible MMSI sequences available for that use.

jimh
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Re: MMSI Number Scheme

Postby jimh » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:52 am

In December 2012, the FCC issued a public notice, "WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU REMINDS MARINERS REGARDING CORRECT USE OF MARITIME MOBILE SERVICE IDENTITY (MMSI) NUMBERS". For the full text, see

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-12-1989A1.pdf

In May 2016, the FCC issued an FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY, "MARINE RADIO--Enforcement Bureau Reminds Mariners of Marine Radio Rules Protecting Public Safety" to again assert the obligation on boaters to properly use MMSI identities or risk financial fines and equipment forteitures. The FCC warned:

Use of inaccurate MMSI's is a violation of FCC rules, with potential impact upon safety of life and property. Improper use of an MMSI with AIS hinders its usefulness as a navigation tool for collision avoidance, and decreases the Coast Guard’s awareness of vessels in the maritime domain, especially vessels approaching U.S. ports. Violators may be subject to the penalties authorized by the Communications Act, including monetary penalties as high as $16,000 for each violation. Your radio equipment may also be seized and forfeited to the U.S. Government.


For the full text, see

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-513A1.pdf

jimh
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Re: MMSI Number Scheme

Postby jimh » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:28 am

UPDATE: Note that the recommended scheme, "Recommendation M.585-7 (03/2015)", for assignment of maritime mobile service identities was updated and approved in March 2015, more than two years ago. In the USA at the moment (July 2017) there is no method in place to implement the recommended scheme for VHF handheld radios not associated primarily with one vessel. See Annex 2, Section 1, "Assignment of identities for handheld VHF transceivers with digital selective calling and global navigation satellite system" in the recommendation. The recommendation can be freely viewed or downloaded from:

https://www.itu.int/rec/R-REC-M.585-7-201503-I/en

The U.S. Coast Guard offers advice about how to get an MMSI assigned to a VHF handheld radio that has its own GNSS receiver at their website at

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtMmsi

See the section under the heading "Obtaining MMSIs for DSC-equipped VHF Handhelds", which says:

A handheld VHF transceiver with DSC and an integral global navigation satellite system (e.g. GPS) not intended for dedicated use on a particular ship (e.g. a diver’s radio) should be assigned a unique 9-digit number in the format [8MIDXXXXX]. While currently means do not exist within the U.S. to assign such identities, the Coast Guard has been in discussions with the Federal communications Commission and others on implementing them.

In the interim, VHF handhelds used in the United States should use the MMSI assigned to the ship to which the handheld is primarily associated, even if another radio on that ship uses the same MMSI. Non-commercial users of VHF handhelds not primarily associated with any single ship may use an MMSI provided by an organization such as BOAT US, SEA TOW and U.S. Power Squadron....

jimh
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Re: For Canadian Boaters: MMSI registration

Postby jimh » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:59 pm

For boaters in CANADA, there is excellent information about how to obtain a maritime mobile service identity (MMSI) at

http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.ns ... 01032.html

Of particular interest is the section at 7.3, which informs about obtaining MMSI's. For handheld radios qualified for DSC CLASS-D and having their own GNSS receivers but not associated with a specific vessel, Canada will provide a "Marine Identity (MI)" for the radio, as described in section 7.3.1 of the cited regulations. (Follow link above.)