IMRF’s Asia Pacific Regional Centre Celebrates 10 Years This year, the IMRF’s Asia Pacific Regional Centre (APRC) celebrates its tenth anniversary. The centre was officially opened by Chinese Vice Minister Weng Mengyong of the Ministry of Transport and the then Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization Efthymios Mitropoulos, on 23 August 2011 with the IMRF Trustees and other international guests in attendance. The APRC was established to raise the IMRF’s profile in the region and to attract more countries and states to join the IMRF family, all with the aim of improving rescue capability and capacity across the area. The APRC is located in the building of the Donghai Rescue Bureau, CRS, and is extremely grateful for the support and assistance of China Rescue and Salvage (CRS). Today, the APRC team is made up of five staff members. Mr Zhang Rongjun is an IMRF Trustee and IMRF Asia Pacific Region Coordinator. He is responsible for the operation of the APRC and communications between the APRC board and the IMRF main board. Mr Huang Jinyu, is the APRC General Manger, responsible for the execution of the APRC Board’s strategy, decision and plan. Captain Song Jiahui is a former IMRF Trustee and now acts as the APRC’s special advisor providing fundraising support. In addition, two executive officers from CRS help the general manager with the daily administration. Photo Gallery View the photos on Flickr. Over the last ten years the APRC has secured three full members, ten associate members and established a platform for communications and coordination. The APRC organises regular regional SAR development meetings and seminars, which are held in different Asia Pacific countries and are open to both members and non-members. The events encourage and facilitate cooperation, particularly for the sharing of best practice and learning from special rescue cases, legal and technical developments, consultancy services and new products. The APRC works to improve maritime SAR capability by coordinating and encouraging cooperation between regional SAR agencies, building trust, understanding and collaboration. The team organise SAR training courses and technical seminars for developing countries in the region and raised sufficient funds to donate 4,000 lifejackets to Bangladeshi fishermen. In common with many other SAR organisations around the world, one of the biggest challenges is fundraising. Because the APRC is registered in China as a branch office of a foreign NGO, Chinese laws and administrative regulations limit the organisation’s fundraising activities. To try and address this, the APRC is working with CRS to apply for Government funding. Over the next 5-10 years the APRC is focused on growing its membership and raising appropriate funds to cover its activities. The APRC intends to develop a technical training base for the Asia Pacific Region, focused on delivering training on rescue techniques and ship management. Speakers will be sourced from professional rescue units and commercial organisations, as well as international experts and training bodies. In addition the APRC is working to establish a rescue information network covering the whole Asia Pacific region. The network will share information on the deployment of rescue forces, on rescue equipment and newly designed rescue devices. SAR responses to major serious incidents will also be collected and the details shared to enhance future rescue cooperation across the region. Last but not least, the APRC is keen to promote the role of women in maritime SAR. Captain Song Yin, CRS rescue helicopter captain, and finalist for the 2019 IMRF #WomenInSAR Award is very popular in China. She has tens of thousands of followers on social media and the APRC works with CRS to use her as an example, inspiring other women across the region to consider a career in maritime SAR.