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A beginner’s guide to the Baltic 99 questionnaire

A guide for anyone who wants to understand the Baltic 99 questionnaire

Chapter 7: Communication

Communication is a vital part of each voyage as the Charterers will need to know how they will be able to contact the Master and dispatch voyage instructions. The main communication systems are provided here.


In communications, Call Sign is a unique designation for a transmitter station. Vessels are assigned call signs by their national licensing authorities, it is unique for each vessel and it changes every time that the vessel changes her flag. The Call Sign consists of letters and numbers in a specific manner. Examples of Call sign can be “3LXY2” or “A8VI5”.

The vessel’s call sign can be found in various certificates such as in the Certificate of Registry.


A shipboard radio station includes all the transmitting and receiving equipment installed aboard a ship for communications afloat. Depending on the size, purpose, or destination of a ship, its radio station must meet certain requirements. For example, large cargo ships that are sailing on the open sea are required to be equipped with a radio station for long distance radio communications.

A vessel may be monitoring a radio station via satellite and/or VHF depending on her current position. In case the vessels are trading in the open-seas and not in a specific area, this information may change each time depending on the position of the vessel and it may not be standard.

Therefore, in this case, either you will complete that the vessel can monitor radio stations depending on her position or you can insert the current radio stations that the vessel is monitoring. The vessel’s Master can provide this information.


The satellite communication system is important for ocean-going ships and they provide voice and data satellite connection services. For example, Inmarcat C, Inmarcat B and Inmarcat A (or F77) are types of satellite communication used in Shipping.

This information can be provided either by the operations department or by the Master.


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