SAR: The Good - The Bad - The Brave - and Everything In Between!

on . Posted in LIFELINE February 2017 - English

Rebecca Jeffries, Editor of LIFE LINE, writes:

Much like the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea, here at IMRF HQ we are also beginning our search for a H.E.R.O. The IMRF Honouring Excellence in Rescue Operations awards 2017 are now accepting nominations with a closing date of 28th July 2017 so there is plenty of time to submit a nomination. More details will follow later in the year. See

As Editor of LIFE LINE, compiling the stories for last year’s H.E.R.O awards was inspiring, heart-warming and at times gut wrenching. Search and rescue is an environment that nurtures heroism and that is why we want to acknowledge the heroes within our SAR family.

Throughout the years, LIFE LINE has been a place where IMRF members can come and tell their story. Anyone involved in maritime SAR will hold some stories close to their heart and I am no different. SAR is not just about the brave though, it is about dedication, hope and sometimes plain old luck.

As a crew member with RNLI Stonehaven one particular mission that has stuck with me was a search for 2 missing fishermen off the coast of North East Scotland. It began as an overdue vessel report and we began our search for the small creel boat with high hopes that we would find them safe and well, it was foggy so we had no reason to believe they were anything but lost. The minutes spent searching turned into hours, the hours quickly turned into days. We searched alongside our sister stations and slowly hope started to drain, but still we searched with a combined total search area of over 1800 NM was covered.

The termination of that search broke each and every one of our hearts, we were a new station and we hadn’t been through this before, we wanted to save them, we wanted to pluck them from the deep blue and take them home and it hurt us all.

At the time I also worked at MRCC Aberdeen as a Watch Officer in the operations room. I turned up at work the next day for handover to be greeted with "you will never guess what..we found them!"

My heart flipped, and immediately sank a little. They had gone missing over 2 days ago. The chance of the next sentence being they are alive was low to say the least..I waited for the inevitable sentence to spill out...

"A fishing vessel found them 50NM East of Arbroath, they are alive!"

For days lifeboats from 3 stations, coastguards, police, a trio of helicopters as well as commercial vessels had searched and searched, the MRCC had calculated search areas, refined them, and calculated again. We had all done the very best we could but the reality was that we were never going to find them, we could not account for the fact that, whilst lost in fog just ¼ of a mile from land, they had started their engine and headed towards the coast in what they thought was a Westerly direction. This Westerly was Easterly and they were heading out to sea. When they decided to switch off the engine they then started to drift, miles from what the coastguard had as their last known position.

No amount of search pattern calculation can account for that element of human error. Even a crystal ball would have struggled to get a clear picture of where they were.

And yet they were rescued, they were safe and they were on their way home to their families. How? Pure luck, nothing more, nothing less, the trawler that found them was on a set course, and they just happened to go right by the drifting boat.

Maritime Search and Rescue is made up of stories like this, it is a patchwork of experience, each story has value and there is always a lesson to be learnt and at the heart of the IMRF is the desire to share these stories with each other, and the world. We want to share your stories, stories that are endearing, stories that are tragic, stories that are funny and stories that just go to show what can happen when you least expect it.

SAR may not always be about the brave, but it is always about hope. The two fishermen involved came to meet my crew and they said that they knew we were looking for them and that, along with two chocolate biscuits and a bottle of water, gave them the strength to survive.

My crew did not pluck them from the water, the helicopters did see them from afar, the coordination centre did not predict where they would be and yet, with nothing but hope, they survived to tell their story...and what a story it is.

If you have a maritime SAR story that you want to share then email me at

Photo: The Crew of RNLI Stonehaven meet the Gourdon fishermen after their days lost at sea. Credit@RNLI Stonehaven.

2017 International Maritime Organisation Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea

on . Posted in LIFELINE February 2017 - English

Nominations are now being sought for the 2017 International Maritime Organization (IMO) Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea. Last year the recipient of this prestigious award was Captain Radhika Menon, Master of the oil products tanker Sampurna Swarajya for her role in the dramatic rescue of seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat in tumultuous seas.

The awards are for “individuals or groups who risk their own lives to perform acts of exceptional bravery in attempting to save life at sea, or in attempting to prevent or mitigate damage to the marine environment”. Although the IMO's panel of judges gives special consideration to actions carried out by non-SAR professionals, SAR unit crews may also be nominated for outstanding responses.

The award is for actions performed during the period 1 March 2016 to 28 February 2017 and nominations for the Award may be made by:

- United Nations Member States;
- Intergovernmental organizations; and/or;
- Non-governmental international organizations in consultative status with IMO.

All nominations must reach the IMO by no later than 14 April 2017.

More details can be found on the IMO website and also at

Third Annual Ferry Safety & Technology Conference NYC

on . Posted in LIFELINE February 2017 - English

11-12th May 2017

Roberta Weisbrod, Executive Director of the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association, writes:

The Third Annual Ferry Safety and Technology conference, sponsored by the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association, will push forward on cutting edge issues explored at previous conferences. Included will be:

E-Learning: At long last a course for crew will be unveiled for use on a mobile platform.

Real time weather on routes: Washington State Ferries is the only system that has weather monitors on its routes. The safety and efficiency of other ferry systems would benefit from weather monitoring of routes. Presentations on how to make that happen.

Communication and Telematics: Enhanced communication between ferries and terminals improves safety, security and efficiency. Different ways to make that happen will be presented. Telematics, the long distance transmission of engine diagnostics and performance, can be utilized on ferries and coupled with other information (e-learning, weather, passenger data) to enhance safety, and reduce fuel and insurance costs.

Advances in developing nations: The past year has seen a major increase in ferry initiatives and innovations in developing nations, opening markets and stimulating ideas.

For full details of this event please see

Singapore Maritime Week (SMW)

on . Posted in LIFELINE February 2017 - English

23 – 28 April 2017

This is the leading maritime event in Singapore driven by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). SMW gathers the international maritime community in Singapore for a week of conferences, dialogues, exhibitions and social events in celebration of all things maritime. The range of activities and events organised by MPA, the industry and research and educational institutions, as well as the cosmopolitan profile of participants, reflect the vibrancy and diversity of Singapore as a major international maritime centre. In 2016, we have attracted over 43,000 public participants and members of the international maritime industry community.

SMW has grown in size and significance since the inaugural event in 2006, and is attracting more participants and event organisers from around the world as activities are added to the line-up, and as eminent speakers share their insights and participate in dialogues on topical maritime issues. This dynamism and the good range of issues discussed during SMW are major for maritime decision-makers, as are the many business networking platforms.

For more information, kindly refer

Fundraising & Communications Skill-Share

on . Posted in LIFELINE February 2017 - English

29-30 June in the Netherlands

Jolan van den Broek, Head of Communications and Fundraising for KNRM, writes:

In June this year KNRM will be hosting a Fundraising and Communications skillshare in the Netherlands. This will be open to all IMRF members and will consist of two days of plenaries, workshops and round table sessions that will shine a light on fundraising and communications to explore and adapt to the specific needs of working for a lifeboat institution.

The theme is sharing and learning from each other’s knowledge on innovation and best practices – come and get the insights you need from each other to not only build strong fundraising strategies for the here and now, but to also move beyond the challenges of day-to-day income generation, communication and prevention campaigns and into a more sustainable future.

The KNRM in the Netherlands is happy to invite you and looks forward seeing you there.

Register for this event now!

APRC Contact

International Maritime Rescue Federation
Asia Pacific Regional Centre
Donghai Rescue Bureau
Room 405
No. 1426 Yang Shu Pu Road

Telephone: +86 21 55 09 53 01

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