Regular followers of LIFE LINE will be aware of the work the IMRF is doing in North and West Africa, in partnership with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to build SAR administration and management capability in the region. This is just one of the ways in which developing SAR organisations can be helped – and it's going well.
The current group comprises six countries – Morocco, Senegal, Cape Verde, Mauritania, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau – who have been working together under the chairmanship of Mohammed Drissi, Morocco's SAR Coordinator and the IMRF's Regional Coordinator.
Through this cooperation, training has been developed and delivered in the main by IMRF Trustee Udo Fox and his colleague from the German Maritime SAR Service (DGzRS) Dirk Stommel, supported by the IMO and IMRF.
The most recent training in February took delegates through an advanced training course on SAR mission coordination.
Most of the delegates attending had participated in initial training held in 2013. The networking between organisations at this level is also of great practical value.
Building on the success of the North and West Africa group, consideration is being given to extending the group to include the states of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana.
A combined meeting between these groups is being held as this newsletter goes to print.
In advance of the meeting representatives from the Liberian group are attending some initial training on SAR Management.
This is to be followed by the joint regional meeting, a SAR seminar and a simulated SAR exercise.
The training and the exercise are supported through the IMO's Technical Development Committee, again with support from both the IMRF and the DGzRS.
Expanding the involvement to include other countries in the region will, we believe, bring better mutual understanding of each country's SAR capability and help build the cross-border cooperation which is so beneficial, especially in major SAR incidents.
Communication, coordination and cooperation are key words in SAR development.