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Sea Traffic Management makes Search and Rescue (SAR) more efficient

SAR exercise

Sea Traffic Management makes Search and Rescue (SAR) more efficient

Published: March 30, 2017

For a Search and Rescue unit (SRU) it is crucial to receive correct information in time. Sea Traffic Management makes it possible to transmit search area and search information using S124 for areas and RTZ for routes directly into the navigational equipment instead of over the radio. This is a faster way of communicating and makes the search and rescue (SAR) more efficient.

On January 25, 2017, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) and the Swedish Sea Rescue Society (SSRS), using three sea-going units, conducted an exercise in which they tested the methodology and various STM SAR functions using Transas PilotPro.

The exercises took place after initial tests over a few weeks, where different information was sent to a small group, areas, routes, point of interest (POI) / images text messages to each other’s navigational equipment. The exercise was conducted to test all functions simultaneously to identify whether and, if so, how the methodology and operations changed and how the various functions work in practice.

The STM functions tested were as follows:

• Search information and search area, text information and area polygons
• Information from the Search and Rescue Unit (SRU) regarding suggested route
• First Impression Report (FIR) picture from SRU on arrival
• Supplementary information from the JRCC, e.g. Ambulance arriving Location, Point of Interest, etc.
• Search /findings /positions report from SRU
• Tracks from SRU during and after completed mission

The exercise comprised three parts:

First, JRCC sent unique routes to the participating SRU, which each SRU uploaded to its navigational equipment, and followed to the target / POI.

Secondly, JRCC transmitted search information, data and image (the missing boat) to the SRUs. The SRUs also received individual routes to the start point of the search area or Commence Search Point (CSP), and downloadable data for the route towards the CSP.

Thirdly, JRCC awarded different search areas to each SRU, which started the search in their respective area. The exercise ended with one SRU finding the “missing” boat and sending an image of it to JRCC as evidence.

SAR is important for safety and lives at sea. Sea Traffic Management will make the assignment easier and smoother, which gives the Search and Rescue unit more time to focus on helping people in danger at sea.

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