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VMS Type-Approval Status Changes for Atlantic HMS Fisheries

Posted May 28, 2015

VMS Type-Approval Status Changes for Atlantic HMS Fisheries

CLS America Thorium TST and SkyMate Mobile Transceiver Units Will No Longer be Type-Approved after September 30, 2015

After September 30, 2015, CLS America Thorium TST and SkyMate mobile transceiver units will no longer be type-approved for compliance with vessel monitoring system (VMS) requirements in United States federal fisheries.

In December 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published in the Federal Register a final regulation governing the technical requirements for, and NMFS' approval of VMS units used in U.S. federal fisheries (50 CFR 600 Subpart Q, see also 79 FR 77399 (Dec. 24, 2014)).  One of the requirements set out in the regulation is a type-approval renewal process.  Under the type-approval renewal process, VMS vendors are required to apply for a renewal of their type-approved VMS units/services every three years.  

CLS America did not apply for renewal of their Thorium TST unit and SkyMate did not submit a complete application for renewal of bundled VMS product (which consists of the Stellar VMS unit together with the Orbcomm satellite communications service).  As a result, the type-approval for the CLS America Thorium TST and SkyMate VMS units will expire on September 30, 2015.  

The CLS Thorium TST A2.0 and Thorium LEO A2.0 are unaffected by this notice and will continue to be type­ approved for use in compliance with VMS requirements in U.S. federal fisheries.

To continue fishing in U.S. federal fisheries that require use of VMS, vessel owners/operators must replace their CLS AmericaThorium TST and SkyMate VMS unit(s) with a currently type-approved VMS unit no later than 11:59 pm (local time) on September 30, 2015.  The new type-approved VMS unit must be installed, operational, and registered by OLE by that time. 

For the most up-to-date list of type-approved units, please check the NMFS VMS website prior to your purchase at:  and click on the "Approved VMS Units" link.  Please be certain that the unit of your choice is type¬≠approved for the fisheries/areas in which you fish.

All CLS America Thorium TST and SkyMate units that are replaced as a direct result of this type-approval status change and as necessary to maintain compliance with the U.S. VMS regulations will fall within the scope of NOAA's National VMS Reimbursement Program.  For information about reimbursements, please visit:  For information about the VMS program, contact the VMS Support Center at 888-219-9228, ole.helpdesk@, or kelly.spalding@


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