|Shipping Emergencies - Search and Rescue|
|When maritime nations gathered together in 1914 to develop the first international shipping safety convention, following the loss of the Titanic two years earlier, the focus was not just on preventing shipping accidents but also improving the chances of survival if one should occur. That conference resulted in the adoption of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which included regulations on provision of life-saving equipment and the safety of navigation.|
|SOLAS, which has since been revised and updated many times, later came under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which assumed global responsibility for shipping when it came into being in 1959. While accident prevention is a major goal of the Organization, IMO has also concentrated efforts on developing world-wide, integrated systems to respond to shipping emergencies. The most significant of these are the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).|
|The GMDSS - which became fully effective from 1 February 1999 - is essentially a worldwide network of automated emergency communications for ships at sea. It means that all ocean·going passenger ships and cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards must be equipped with radio equipment that conforms to international standards as set out in the system. The basic concept is that search and rescue authorities ashore, as well as shipping in the immediate vicinity of the ship in distress, can be rapidly alerted through satellite and terrestrial communication techniques to a distress incident so that they can assist in a coordinated SAR operation with the minimum of delay.
printed on 2013/05/18 20:05:31