The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) is the only maritime search and rescue non-governmental organisation that has consultative status at the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

Granted in 1985, it means the IMRF acts as the representative body of the world’s maritime search and rescue services.

The IMRF can attend any relevant IMO meetings, advocating, advising and raising issues of critical importance with the global regulator, on behalf its members.    

Jared Blows has been part of the IMRF’s representation at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the last two years, in addition to being a part of the South African delegation. 

He has been a member of the IMRF for many years and an IMRF Awards judge for the last two. 

Originally a seafarer, serving in the South African Navy for over a decade, he’s been with the MRCC Cape Town for more than 16 years, and held the post of Chief MRCC Cape Town and Regional MRCC Southern Africa Region for eight years.  

His role today includes the coordination of SAR operations across 27 million square kilometers of ocean across the South African SAR region, while providing assistance to the Regional Maritime Rescue Sub Centres of Angola, Comoros, Mozambique, Madagascar and Namibia.  

We Asked Jared What It’s Like Representing the IMRF at the IMO … 

“The IMRF has a critical role to play at the IMO and being the IMO representative fills me with great hope for the future development of maritime SAR worldwide."  

The IMRF raises important issues that might otherwise be overlooked and projects in the developing maritime world are always a special focus."

“At each IMO meeting there may be more than 200 representatives from maritime countries and organisations around the world."

"I liaise with the IMRF members beforehand, particularly the working groups and then provide feedback to the member states and help to develop discussion papers on search and rescue, environmental protection, safety and design topics."

“As one of the representatives at the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR), we then review and help formulate recommendations which, when approved by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) will form guidance and the basis for regulations across the maritime domain." 

“The NCSR advises the MSC on new developments and technologies that might benefit maritime communities.  Our annual meeting was recently held at the IMO’s headquarters in London and during this meeting, we agreed to conduct and complete a review of IMO documentation and publications to ensure their relevance, we discussed some new communications providers of GMDSS (Global Marine Distress and Safety Systems) satellite services in the sector and we examined the development of harmonized aeronautical and maritime SAR procedures, particularly SAR training.   

“At each IMO meeting, I share the comments and feedback from the IMRF working group on the different topics and then afterwards, we promulgate the outcomes of the meeting to members in order to develop new strategies to make best use of the IMRF’s global footprint to enhance SAR capability."

“Representing the IMRF and the maritime SAR industry at the IMO meetings really is important, together we can really work to improve the SAR capacity and capability, with the aim of saving more lives at sea."

“If you have any comments or questions about the meeting or the discussions that took place, please contact the IMRF secretariat on [email protected] and we’ll be glad to help.”