The IMRF, in conjunction with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has held a course covering on-scene coordination for maritime search and rescue (SAR) organisations, with representatives from three of the five IMO Africa regions attending.

In total 25 attendees from maritime SAR organisations based in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, Cabo Verde, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Benin, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Congo Brazzaville and Morocco attended. 

The course has been developed to train representatives designated to perform the duties and responsibilities of a SAR on-scene coordinator (OSC) for any SAR incident, as defined in the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual (IAMSAR), Volume III. 

The OSC role is vital to the success of any SAR incident and this course helps nation states to meet their SAR obligations as defined under the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue 1979 and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974. 

The training was led by IMRF Trustee and IMRF Regional Coordinator for Africa, Captain Mohammed Drissi, together with Captain Malick Ndiaye (Senegal), Captain Jawad Bensouda (Morocco), Engineer ARFO Ibrahim (Nigeria), and Commander Tobosso Roustan (Benin).

The training included a practical session onboard a rescue boat and an OSC exercise coordinated by the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) Rabat. At the end of the course, the attendees were presented with certificates co-signed by the IMO and the IMRF. 

The course aimed to increase the delegates’ confidence and capabilities when working as OSC in an incident situation.

The exercise highlighted possibilities for further collaboration between the different agencies and authorities and the de-briefing afterwards covered the gaps in planning and execution, demonstrating learning opportunities.

Captain Mohammed Drissi commented: “This well-established, popular course offers valuable information and a chance to learn from each other in practical ways during the exercise. All those attending return to their respective organisations with more knowledge and enhanced management competence, and are better prepared for any SAR situation in their region.