(a) Except as provided in section 352 hereof it shall be unlawful—
(1) For any ship of the United States, other than a cargo ship of less than three hundred gross tons, to be navigated in the open sea outside of a harbor or port, or for any ship of the United States or any foreign country, other than a cargo ship of less than three hundred gross tons, to leave or attempt to leave any harbor or port of the United States for a voyage in the open sea, unless such ship is equipped with an efficient radio station in operating condition, as specified by subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph, in charge of and operated by one or more radio officers or operators, adequately installed and protected so as to insure proper operation, and so as not to endanger the ship and radio station as hereinafter provided, and, in the case of a ship of the United States, unless there is on board a valid station license issued in accordance with this chapter.
(A) Passenger ships irrespective of size and cargo ships of one thousand six hundred gross tons and upward shall be equipped with a radiotelegraph station complying with the provisions of this part;
(B) Cargo ships of three hundred gross tons and upward but less than one thousand six hundred gross tons, unless equipped with a radiotelegraph station complying with the provisions of this part, shall be equipped with a radiotelephone station complying with the provisions of this part.
(2) For any ship of the United States of one thousand six hundred gross tons and upward to be navigated in the open sea outside of a harbor or port, or for any such ship of the United States or any foreign country to leave or attempt to leave any harbor or port of the United States for a voyage in the open sea, unless such ship is equipped with efficient radio direction finding apparatus approved by the Commission, properly adjusted in operating condition as hereinafter provided.
(b) A ship which is not subject to the provisions of this part at the time of its departure on a voyage shall not become subject to such provisions on account of any deviation from its intended voyage due to stress of weather or any other cause over which neither the master, the owner, nor the charterer (if any) has control.
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.
1965—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 89–121 substituted "radio station" for "radio installation", broadened coverage so as to extend to vessels over 300 tons rather than 500 tons, required passenger ships irrespective of size and cargo ships over 1600 tons to be equipped with a radio telegraph station and cargo ships over 300 tons, unless equipped with a radiotelegraph station, to be equipped with a radiotelephone station, and eliminated provisions which empowered the Commission to defer the application of the provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection for periods not beyond Jan. 1, 1955, and Nov. 19, 1954, respectively.
1954—Subsec. (a)(1). Act Aug. 13, 1954, broadened coverage so as to extend to vessels over 500 tons rather than 1,600 tons.
Subsec. (a)(2). Act Aug. 13, 1954, broadened coverage so as to extend to any United States flag vessel of 1,600 gross tons or over rather than any passenger vessel of 5,000 gross tons or over.
Section 16 of act May 20, 1937, provided that: "This Act [enacting this part, amending sections 151, 153, 154, 303, 321, 322, 329, 402, 504, and 602 of this title, and repealing sections 484 to 487 of former Title 46, Shipping] shall take effect upon approval [May 20, 1937] provided that the Commission may defer the application of all or any part of sections 351 to 355 [sections 351 to 355 of this title], inclusive, for a period not to exceed six months after approval, in regard to any ship or classes of ships of the United States which are not subject to the provisions of the safety convention, if it is found impracticable to obtain the necessary equipment or make the required installations."
Act Aug. 3, 1956, ch. 913, 70 Stat. 967, authorized the Federal Communications Commission, the United States Coast Guard, and the Federal Maritime Administration, acting jointly, to make a full and complete study and investigation with respect to the need for installing automatic radiotelegraph call selectors on cargo ships of the United States carrying less than two radio operators, and other such safety devices, and the feasibility thereof, and required a report to the Congress not later than Mar. 1, 1957.
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