Emergencies: Transportation and Telecommunication

Shipping Emergencies - Search and Rescue

The 1979 Convention, adopted at a Conference in Hamburg, was aimed at developing an international SAR plan, so that, no matter where an accident occurs, the rescue of persons in distress at sea will be co-ordinated by a SAR organization and, when necessary, by co-operation between neighbouring SAR organizations. Although the obligation of ships to go to the assistance of vessels in distress was enshrined both in tradition and in international treaties (such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974), there was, until the adoption of the SAR Convention, no international system covering search and rescue operations. In some areas there was a well-established organization able to provide assistance promptly and efficiently, in others there was nothing at all

Shipping Emergencies - The GMDSS

The basic concept of the GMDSS is that search and rescue authorities ashore, as well as shipping in the immediate vicinity of the ship in distress, will be rapidly alerted to a distress incident so they can assist in a co∑ordinated search and rescue operation with the minimum of delay. The system also provides for urgency and safety communications and the dissemination of maritime safety information, including navigational and meteorological warnings. This means that every ship will be able, irrespective of the area in which it operates, to perform those communication functions considered essential for the safety of the ship itself and of other ships operating in the same area.

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