Representatives from Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Mauritius are in Australia working with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to strengthen search and rescue capabilities in the Indian Ocean region.
The Search and Rescue Capability Partnership Program commenced in January and is delivered by AMSA as part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Government Partnerships for Development (GPFD) program. GPFD provides funding to Australian public sector organisations to support economic growth and poverty alleviation in developing countries in the Indian Ocean, Asia and Pacific regions.
AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said search and rescue in the Indian Ocean region is often challenging, “the aim of the program is to strengthen cooperation and capability with these three countries which border Australia’s search and rescue region, in a vast and remote part of the world,” Kinley said.
AMSA officers visited Mauritius, the Maldives and Sri Lanka earlier this year to identify areas which could be enhanced to improve aviation and maritime search and rescue. The visiting officials have primary responsibility for search and rescue in their countries and come with a variety of skills and backgrounds including Coast Guard, Navy, air traffic control and police.
Mr. Kinley said the visit would give search and rescue officers the chance to develop operational relationships with their counterparts. “during this visit AMSA and our partner countries will focus on the formation of a two year implementation plan.
“This program will include search and rescue training and system implementation to enhance existing communication and search area determination tools. There will be an emphasis on further refining organisational structures and procedures tailored to their national needs but in line with international requirements.
“They will also take part in a simulated search and rescue exercise, and it will provide the opportunity for professional officers to share their operational experiences,” Kinley said.
The program will run until 2017. AMSA received $2.6 million in funding to improve cooperation and greater communication between search and rescue agencies, as well as advance systems to conduct timely and effective search and rescue operations across the region.
Officers from the three countries will be in Australia from June 26 – July 4.