IMRF’s Chief Executive Officer Bruce Reid writes:
Let me begin by wishing you all a very happy and successful New Year: successful in all you do, but in SAR especially!
When I wrote a summary of the IMRF’s many activities in 2015 in the December LIFE LINE (see the archive on our website), I noted that it had been quite a year, and that we hope to continue to achieve great things in 2016. Now here we are at the end of January already – and I can tell you that we are up and running!
As this edition of LIFE LINE heads for the press I am in China, for the meeting of the Board governing our Asia-Pacific Regional Centre (APRC). I’m delighted to say that the APRC continues to go from strength to strength. For this year we are planning Mass Rescue Workshops and Seminars in Malaysia and Mongolia too. There will be a Regional SAR Development Meeting in September and the APRC will be working with the Maritime Universities in Shanghai and Dalian to develop case studies on two MRO accidents. Increased cooperation with the Chinese Government will provide even more opportunities to build activity in the Region.
The APRC’s success is a tribute to its hardworking staff, under the leadership of Mr Zhang Rongjun. Mr Gu Yiming and Ms Qiu Jing have done us great service – and both are now moving on to other things in their parent organisation, IMRF Member China Rescue and Salvage. Thank you, guys: everyone in the IMRF wishes you all the very best for the future.
So – the old crew have paid off: let’s welcome the new crowd! Mr Zeng Haowei and Ms Qin Huapu are now aboard. It’s very good to have you with us.
We’ve been planning our new year back in the UK offices too. We will be building on our small team, with a fundraiser and an additional staff member to help manage the increasing workload and provide another point of contact for our Members. Stalwarts Jill, Dave & Wendy are hard at work again after a well-deserved Christmas break; and already it’s clear that we have a full schedule mapped out for 2016. SAR seems to be at the forefront of many people’s attention now, and quite a few events are already on the calendar.
We are celebrating ‘sharing’ in this issue of LIFE LINE, and sharing our global SAR needs as well as our successes raises awareness, and helps deliver on our shared humanitarian goal of preventing loss of life in the world’s waters. But we do have to be hard-headed about our resources (especially our human resource) and the increasing demands on us. It’s great that the IMRF is now well-recognised as a leading voice and force for SAR worldwide; but that does mean that more and more people are asking for our help! We have to prioritise.
We will aim to run a major IMRF SAR conference every second year. The World Maritime Rescue Congress is one: we will be announcing the venue for the 2019 Congress very soon. Our plan now is to hold a second conference in mid-term, between Congresses; so the next will happen in 2017. We will consider continuing the mass rescue theme, developed in the successful Gothenburg series of conferences over the last few years; but we want to cover other subjects of importance to the worldwide SAR community too.
The rest of our work continues: at the IMO; mass rescue workshops; the highly successful Crew Exchange (visit www.imrfexchange.org); ongoing development work in Africa and elsewhere; and ‘new’ work too, on technological developments and accident prevention strategies. Watch for more news of these in future editions of LIFE LINE.
Finally, the IMRF Members Assisting Members initiative is being taken to another level with more than ten IMRF member organisations actively working together to help Greek authorities with the continuing flood of people crossing the Aegean Sea.
Yes – it’s going to be another of those years! Come along with us: it will be good!