The West Africa Maritime Search and Rescue Region (WAMSRR) was held in the Moroccan city of Tangier late in May.
The meeting was sponsored and organised by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
This was the fourth meeting for the representatives of Ghana, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The group was meeting to review progress made by the MRCC's in the region and to continue to develop the regional maritime SAR plan.
And progress is being made.
This meeting, completed the drafting of the Regional SAR Plan for the Monrovia RMRCC, progressed commitments to complete national SAR self-assessments, incorporated a combined regional meeting with the North and West Africa SAR committee, identified and discussed successful funding initiatives and the group participated in a Mass rescue SAREX and seminars.
There is strong external support for the work being undertaken by WAMRSS with this meeting attended by a delegation from the IMO headed by the Head of the Technical Cooperation and Implementation Co-ordination Section, Captain Beatrice Vormawah.
The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) were also in attendance for the first time, represented by CEO Bruce Reid and two Trustees of the charity.
"It has been good to hear first-hand the work that is being done, the commitment from the individuals and their organisations to improve maritime SAR coordination and response for the region" says Mr Reid, "We find it disconcerting that in many of countries there is still not the political will or financial support to improve the safety, security and well-being of those heading on the water.This needs to change.It was positive to hear how organisations are addressing this challenge by successfully lobbying for regulation changes to direct funds received from maritime levies to support maritime SAR.The IMRF will be looking at how we can work with the IMO and the WAMSRR to support the maritime SAR development in the region."
At the opening of the SAR seminar and exercise, Captain Beatrice Vormawah stressed the need for cooperation within the regions and between the regions to effectively manage the SAR centres for national and regional benefit.
At the conclusion of the meeting the two regional groups combined with the chairman of each group providing a brief background about their committees, the progress made so far and the set-backs encountered.
The final word went to North and West Africa regional coordinator and head of Rabat RMRCC Mohammed Drissi who thanked all the participants for their contributions.
He stated his commitment to ensuring the two regional groups forge a closer working relationship to improve SAR services across the regions making the waters safer.