African and North Atlantic experts meet at IMRF SAR Summit

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africanco-ordinatorsRepresentatives from the African SAR (search and rescue) Group were able to pick up ideas on how to create a model based on the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (RCC) of the North Atlantic Group when the two parties met.

The meeting was facilitated by the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) in partnership with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC) in Rabat, Morocco.

Delegates from South Africa, Liberia, Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco attended the the African Continent Regional SAR co-ordinators meeting , where, at the same time, the 16th meeting of the North Atlantic MRCC Group gathering SAR services from US, Canada, Germany, France, Norway, United Kingdom, Spain, Island, Ireland and Netherlands, took place.

“The objective of this parallel event was to give the African group an overview on what was done within the North Atlantic Group to develop SAR capabilities and operations and seek for ways to create a similar one for Africa,” said Mohammed Drissi, Moroccan National Search and Rescue Coordinator.

At the African co-ordinators’ meeting it was agreed that a common website is to be developed to enable search and rescue services (SAR) in the Africa region to help publicise their work and provide an on-line library of resources for regional co-ordinators.

Increased cooperation and communication across the regions was an important theme of the meeting and there was also agreement to provide more common training targeting skills across all the regions with no restrictions because of geographic location.

Linked to this was the agreement to establish a regular communication device to keep the regional coordinators advised of other regions activity and inform of future events and activity that may be of interest to the wider group.

The group also identified a need for an annual report that reflects and reports on the activity across the African region. The report will provide an update of achievements, statistics of activity and establish current and future challenges.

“We are incrementally building better communication and compiling more relevant data which will help the Africa SAR services to be more effective improving their rescue capability and saving more lives in the waters of Africa,” said Bruce Reid, CEO, IMRF.

“This is only the second meeting and we are already seeing the positive results from actions agreed. It was also extremely valuable to put the African and North Atlantic teams together”

African delegates also followed up on actions from the previous meeting including, adopting the updated Regional Coordinators SAR Focal Point; adopting the monthly communication test between Regional MRCC; establishing an Africa Region Trainer list, identifying areas of specialist course delivery and adoption of the Africa SAR development list.

The IMRF has been working in partnership with the IMO TCC to build the SAR coordination and response capability in Africa with funding support from the German Maritime Administration. This is to implement a development plan that has now delivered 24 activities including training, development meetings and exercises since the start of 2015.

The IMRF has announced that the G4 International Maritime Mass Rescue Conference will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden from June 11th-13th, 2017.