The maritime search and rescue (SAR) industry has a very clearly defined goal: rescuing the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

For Alex Morkin, Director at Canadian maritime software company SiiTech, it is the latter part of that goal that is the most important aspect of his work to support the maritime SAR community.

“As soon as a ship send a distress signal, that vessel’s exact location should immediately appear on a chart, along with all surrounding vessels that could offer to support. Simultaneously, maritime SAR teams should have immediate access to all the vessel’s details, including number of people onboard, contact information and available rescue equipment. All of this is designed to minimise the time it takes to action a rescue operation,” Alex said.

SiiTech, one of the IMRF’s newest members, provides a suite of e-navigation and vessel tracking systems to enable monitoring of vessels and their various onboard sensors, including fuel consumption to oil spill detection. By utilising this information, shore-side operational teams gain a comprehensive understanding of vessel activities and offshore surroundings ahead of launching a maritime operation. This kind of information is critical for maritime SAR organisations that often have a vague description of an incident, enabling them to get a clearer picture of an ongoing situation that would allow them to prepare better when approaching a vessel.

“Today, we are present in more than 34 countries, with many of our clients using our solutions for marine SAR purposes for many years. We are proud the impact our software has made on the maritime SAR community and continue to champion for our crews to have the best and most relevant information available during a rescue operation,” he noted.

SiiTech already has a distinct background in maritime SAR. In 2022, the company provided the Swedish Sea Rescue Society with its Web VTS Solution and accompanying technical support free of charge. The system showcased its capabilities in October 2023 during the Marco Polo incident when it ran aground off the south coast of Sweden.

“The ferry spilled a lot of oil when it ran aground and SiiTech was able to identify the area of spillage so that the coastguard could ensure they minimised their exposure to the fuel,” Alex noted.

As a member of the IMRF, Alex is hoping that SiiTech can learn more about the requirements of the maritime SAR community and adapt the software to the sector’s needs.

“We are a small team at SiiTech but, with the support of the IMRF, we hope to gain a clearer understanding of our potential actions to help improve global maritime SAR operations,” he added.

As part of that development, SiiTech is looking to establish an annual grant for voluntary SAR organisations that can demonstrate the best use of its technology in maritime SAR operations. For any interested parties, SiiTech is offering its Web VTS solution and technical support, including remote installation and setup, free of charge to maritime SAR organisations.

If you are interested, you can contact Alex directly at [email protected]