The International Maritime Organization (IMO) held a regional seminar on the implementation of the global SAR plan for East Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia, 3-5 February 2015. The event was hosted by the Indonesia SAR Agency, BASARNAS, and chaired by Hans van der Graaf of the IMO Secretariat. David Jardine-Smith represented the IMRF at the event.
The seminar was attended by representatives of government organisations with SAR responsibility from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Viet Nam. Each gave a presentation explaining their SAR systems and challenges.
IMO speakers explained SAR obligations and the current state of ratification of the SAR Convention and the delimitation of SAR regions in East Asia; gave updates on GMDSS and the Cospas-Sarsat system; and discussed SAR cooperation, maritime awareness, the harmonisation of aeronautical and maritime SAR, and other international developments.
Speakers from Australia and Hong Kong discussed the pros and cons of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) approach, compared with separate Maritime and Aeronautical RCCs; and there were presentations on the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash and the ongoing search for Malaysia Airlines' MH370, west of Australia. David spoke about the IMRF, and our Mass Rescue Operations Project. The crash of TransAsia's flight GE235 in Taipei, during the seminar, gave added immediacy to the discussion.
At the conclusion of the seminar the States represented agreed a number of recommendations, including ratifying the SAR Convention and informing the IMO of SAR and communication capability, where this has not yet been done; establishing bilateral and multilateral SAR agreements as appropriate; developing training and exercise programmes; and requesting technical assistance as necessary to assess the existing situation and provide recommendations for improvement, including as regards SAR training.