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Learning from Experience – the IMRF’s Role Recognised by the IMO

‘Learning from experience’ is the title of our fourth mass rescue operations conference, to be held in Sweden in June: see www.imrfmro.org/homeg4. But it’s not just in such challenging situations that we can usefully learn from each other. And the IMRF is an internationally recognised means of facilitating that learning process.

There is great value in disseminating SAR information – including lessons learned in SAR incidents, accidents, exercises and drills – as widely as possible, so that SAR service personnel can learn from others’ experience and ideas and improve their own preparedness. Why, as they say, reinvent the wheel..?

The IMO Considers SAR in London

The Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and SAR (NCSR) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the technical body looking after maritime matters for the United Nations – holds its meeting in March each year, at the IMO’s headquarters beside the River Thames in London.

As the only non-governmental SAR organisation with consultative status at the IMO, the IMRF always attends NCSR meetings. It is here that the international community agrees issues of fundamental importance to distress alerting and communications and to SAR response. NCSR also acts as the technical Sub-Committee overseeing the editing of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual. This year the IMRF was represented at the meeting by Rebecca Jeffries and David Jardine-Smith of the secretariat.

The Loss of the Irish Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter R116

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has heard with great sadness of the loss of the Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter, R116, during an operation in the early hours of 14 March 2017.

IMRF Chair Captain Udo Helge Fox says: "The IMRF, which represents the maritime search and rescue community worldwide, is shocked to hear of this accident. Search and rescue at sea is a dangerous business. SAR professionals do all they can to mitigate the risks, but we cannot eradicate them entirely."

"Sometimes SAR people give their own lives in trying to save others. At the moment, we do not know what has happened to R116, or whether more of the crew will be found. I know that our Irish colleagues will do all in their power to find them, and bring them home. On behalf of the worldwide SAR community, I salute the crew of R116, and we hope for the best possible outcome."

IMRF Chief Executive Bruce Reid adds: "SAR people all over the world are part of one family, united in seeking to save lives, and the SAR world is in shock, like any family. Our thoughts and hopes are with the crew, their loved ones and their SAR colleagues at this difficult time."

Improving Emergency Response for Mass Rescue at Sea

IMRF Brings Together International Experts to Improve Planning and Resolve Challenges

Every year more than 400,000 people lose their lives in the world’s waters (World Health Organisation Report on Drowning, 2014) , but many of these deaths could be prevented through safety interventions and improved maritime search and rescue coordination and response.

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) is bringing together experts from around the world for its 4th International Maritime Mass Rescue Conference to address some of these issues.

The event will be held on 11-13 June, 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden, and includes a live mass rescue exercise for all those attending. The sea-based simulation exercise will offer a valuable shared experience to build on over the following two days.

New NGO Guidance for Co-ordination of Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean Published

Today on 3 March 2017, Human Rights at Sea publishes the first voluntary NGO minimum standard guidance working towards increased levels of joint co-ordination and co-operation for the on-going humanitarian relief effort in the Mediterranean region and in close co-ordination with established Rescue Coordination Centres, other State and non-State actors.

Titled: A “Voluntary Code of Conduct for Search and Rescue Operations undertaken by civil society Non-Governmental Organisations in the Mediterranean Sea” the first edition of the document is intended to act as the basis for rapid iterative development with as many stakeholders as possible, including European Institutions, Agencies, shipping and fishing associations and military forces.

Contact Info

International Maritime Rescue Federation
50 Allardice Street
AB39 2RA
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0) 1569 767405

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