Udo Fox, Executive Director, DGzRS has attended the 27th session of the ICAO/IMO Joint Working Group|(JWG) on the Harmonization of Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue, as the IMRF’s IMO representative.

The JWG was established in 1993, to help the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Orgnization) and IMO (International Maritime Organization) to develop provisions regarding new search and rescue (SAR) techniques and procedures where both aeronautical and maritime interests were involved.   

There are eight aeronautical and eight maritime members and other organisations are invited to attend and contribute as observers.   The IMRF attends because it is the only maritime SAR NGO with consultative status at the IMO and so a key contributor.

The meeting discussions covered a wide range of topics, including:

  • amendments to the IAMSAR manual
  • the status of the Maritime SAR Convention and annex 12 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation
  • alignment of the IMO Area SAR Plans, GMDSS Master Plan and ICAO Regional Air Navigation Plans
  • progress report on work by the ANC and provisions pertaining to airborne carriage of crash alert and signalling equipment
  • development of operational guidelines for safe and effective SAR operations
  • mass rescue operations
  • development of a structured process to review SAR alerting procedures between ATC services and SAR authorities
  • SAR communications and SAR personnel staffing and training

Udo Fox commented:This is an important meeting and the IMRF’s contribution is both highly valued and welcomed.  There is much to discuss in this area and considerable ‘gaps’ in the guidelines available – something that the IMRF is also working to address with the recently announced IMRF Aviation SAR Panel, which will be working towards establishing an international benchmark for quality, safety and consistency of aviation SAR standards.