In April Redningsselskapet, the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue, visited the sea rescue operations centre in Tangier, Morocco. The meeting was organized by Mohammed Drissi, who is the national SAR coordinator and Head of the SAR Bureau of the Ministry of Ocean Fisheries, as well as being an IMRF Trustee. The Ministry is the SAR authority for maritime incidents and is responsible for providing maritime SAR services within the Moroccan Maritime Search and Rescue Region.

During the visit, two Norwegian rescue vessel captains from Redningsselskapet gave presentations and practical SAR training to the crew of the rescue vessel Tarik, based in Tangier. The Ministry’s representative in Tangier, Driss Tazi, who coordinates SAR operations in the key area where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, says: “We know that Redningsselskapet has advanced knowledge on SAR operations. We are sure that, with their help, we will be able to improve our operations as well as build up a strong knowledge base among our crew members.”

Vivi Lundgren Schumann, who is in charge of international projects for Redningsselskapet, responded by saying; “Tangier has a large fleet of fishing boats and vessels and considerable merchant traffic as well as issues concerning immigrants trying to reach Europe. We hope that Redningsselskapet can contribute in the future to building the knowledge and skills among the local rescue crews.”

As previously reported in LIFE LINE, Morocco has become a key centre for maritime SAR training in North and West Africa. Rabat hosts the regional SAR coordination centre covering the seas adjoining the countries of Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau. The IMRF has been assisting with training for SAR administrators and mission coordinators. Now Redningsselskapet’s visit to Tangier expands the work to the rescue crews themselves. As Mr Tazi says: “This is the first step! Hopefully, the project can develop further to cover the entire coast of Morocco.”

Photos courtesy of Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue