The IMRF has delivered its first two online SAR training courses in Africa, as part of its Global SAR Development Project.

The first course, on SAR Administration and Management Course, was based on the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual Vol. I and was taught online in four training sessions held over four days in June and October 2021. 

The second, a Search and Rescue On-Scene Coordinators & SAR Basics Course was based on the IAMSAR Manual Vol III and was taught over two sessions in late January. Both courses were delivered by Captain Udo Fox.

Both courses were specifically designed to be delivered online, because of the global pandemic and  formed part of a pilot project to test the feasibility of delivering effective online SAR training in countries who could not otherwise easily access this type of training.

Thirty SAR professionals from different stakeholder organisations in Ghana took part in the pilot project, with the aim of strengthening the Ghanaian SAR services capabilities and enhancing the Ghana Maritime Authority’s role as national SAR coordinator.

Theresa Crossley, CEO, IMRF said:Our first two online training courses have been a valuable learning experience for all involved. Most importantly the participants say that they found it easily accessible and an effective way to learn and improve their knowledge."

The global pandemic has encouraged us all to embrace online communication in ways we really hadn’t really thought about before. The IMRF’s webinar programme has been particularly successful, reaching many more people than a face-to-face course would.  We are always looking for the best ways to support IMRF members and look forward to working with the IMO to develop more courses, giving SAR professionals all around the world direct access to best practice learning and tailored training.

Captain Akrofi, Ghana Maritime Administration added:This is to express my sincere gratitude and that of my colleagues of the SAR Committee for the time spent in breaking down SAR to a layman's understanding. You taught us in a very primary way to the extent that by the time you completed we all understood SAR very well.

The first three course sessions covered; system concept, system components, communication, organisation and management, training and qualification, mass rescue operations, public and media relations. 

The final session (which was delayed until October for operational reasons) took the format of a workshop divided into five interactive discussion rounds. 

These covered preparatory measures before an incident, receiving the alert and initial responses, the planning, coordination and response at sea, managing the rescued people and follow up actions. 

The final session also examined the coordination of multiple agencies in a crisis management situation.

The second online course focused on enhancing the knowledge of those designated to be Search and Rescue On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) for a search and rescue incident, as outlined in the IAMSAR Manual Volume III.

The Ghanaian agencies that took part included representatives from the Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Navy, Ghana Air Force, Marine Police, Ghana National Disaster Management Organisation, Ghana Immigration Service, National Ambulance Service, Ghana Fire Service, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Ghana Meteorological Agency and the Ghana Health Service.

Both courses were designed to increase competency and confidence when establishing or developing SAR systems, to help improve governance and management processes at all levels of the maritime emergency response system, to ensure compliance with the provisions of the relevant IMO conventions and to increase management awareness of best practice good governance and management.