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The International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications, and Search and Rescue (NCSR) will meet 29 February to 4 March in London. The IMRF has consultative status at the IMO, and NCSR is the technical sub-committee of most interest to us in our advocacy role, speaking on behalf of maritime SAR people worldwide.

We are co-sponsoring two papers at this session, both on issues led by our colleagues in Finland. The first suggests a way forward on making necessary improvements in SAR cooperation planning with cruise ships. This is all about information-sharing between passenger ships and SAR authorities, aimed at improved mutual awareness and cooperation in the event of an incident. Establishing good liaison between SAR services and cruise ships trading through many SAR regions is difficult, and we are seeking ways of improving the process.

The second paper asks SAR authorities to trial Finland’s Vessel Triage system, a concept we believe to be of use in mass rescue situations in particular. See LIFE LINE October 2014, and visit for more information.

Among other issues of interest to IMRF Members will be those resulting from the report to NCSR of last September’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) / IMO Joint Working Group on SAR (see the October 2015 edition of LIFE LINE). The IMRF is closely engaged with the Joint Working Group, and has a part in several items of work on its agenda.

ICAO’s new Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) will be introduced at the NCSR meeting. While this is mostly to do with aircraft tracking, in response to the MH370 disaster, it does offer the opportunity for improved maritime/aeronautical liaison in pursuit of better SAR provision.

For further information about the upcoming meeting please contact A report of its proceedings will be included in the April edition of LIFE LINE.


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