The master of every ship of the United States, equipped with radio transmitting apparatus, which meets with dangerous ice, a dangerous derelict, a tropical storm, or any other direct danger to navigation, or encounters subfreezing air temperatures associated with gale force winds causing severe ice accretion on superstructures, or winds of force 10 or above on the Beaufort scale for which no storm warning has been received, shall cause to be transmitted all pertinent information relating thereto to ships in the vicinity and to the appropriate authorities on land, in accordance with rules and regulations issued by the Commission. When they consider it necessary, such authorities of the United States shall promptly bring the information received by them to the knowledge of those concerned, including interested foreign authorities.
The transmission by any ship of the United States, made in compliance with subsection (a), to any station which imposes a charge for the reception, relay, or forwarding of the required information, shall be free of cost to the ship concerned and any communication charges incurred by the ship for transmission, relay, or forwarding of the information may be certified to the Commission for reimbursement out of moneys appropriated to the Commission for that purpose.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any station or carrier may render free service in connection with situations involving the safety of life and property, including hydrographic reports, weather reports, reports regarding aids to navigation and medical assistance to injured or sick persons on ships and aircraft at sea. All free service permitted by this subsection shall be subject to such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe, which rules may limit such free service to the extent which the Commission finds desirable in the public interest.