Earlier in August 2015 IMRF Former Chairman, Michael Vlasto, represented the IMRF in Varna, Bulgaria at an International Forum arranged to recognise 20 years of dedicated lifesaving service to the Bulgarian community by the volunteers at BULSAR.
The Anniversary provided the opportunity for the Forum which was considering “The role and contribution of specialised maritime voluntary organisations and the correct choice of suitable rescue units to enhance the efficiency of rescue operations.” It was attended by Governmental and Non-Governmental personnel and representatives from international SAR organisations.
Key to the discussions in the Forum was the on-going dialogue between BULSAR and the Maritime Administration Agency of the Department of Transport, which has overall responsibility for maritime SAR, to achieve recognition for the work being carried out by the BULSAR volunteers and identifying some way of recouping some of the costs for this activity.
Captain Nikifor Guerchev, CEO of BULSAR, welcomed those attending and provided an informative overview of BULSAR’s activities during the past 20 years. He also outlined some thoughts on the way forward with a particular focus on building support for the volunteers from the government.
Michael Vlasto was able to provide some thoughts on how this has been successfully achieved in other countries and emphasised the IMRF’s view that it is particularly important that both sides understand and respect the others valued contribution to SAR in the community.
“In almost all countries, where we work with the volunteers, they play an important role in supporting the statutory authority responsible for SAR to deliver the rescue service needed. It should not be forgotten that volunteers are there, because they want to be involved in saving lives at sea.“ says Mr Vlasto.
“The two ‘sides’ must work together to be effective, which is why it is pleasing to see the level of dialogue taking place between BULSAR and the State organisations, and the IMRF wishes to as a successful outcome will enhance the overall ability of all those concerned to rescue those in distress at sea”.
During the event Captain Nikifor Guerchev presented Michael Vlasto with Honorary Membership to BULSAR in recognition of his tireless efforts to improve maritime SAR around the world as Chairman of the IMRF, a well-deserved recognition.
In response Michael Vlasto thanked BULSAR for the honour it had bestowed on him and said he was just one of a dedicated team of trustees and staff at the IMRF, who worked extremely hard to realise the IMRF’s vision of reducing the loss of life in the world’s waters.
Image: IMRF Past Chairman, Michael Vlasto, and Captain Nikifor Guerchev, CEO of BULSAR.