- 27 September, 2016: A specialised Search and Rescue (SAR) Development Course aimed at developing participants’ capability to provide more effective response to maritime and aviation distress situations within their SAR areas was launched yesterday at the Mauritius Maritime Training Academy in Pointe aux Sables. The Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, and the Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Volkan Alasya, were present at the opening.
Organised at the initiative of the Ministry and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the course will be attended by 15 participants from the Shipping Division of the Ministry, the Department of Civil Aviation, the National Coast Guard, the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Centre, and the Mauritius Radio Services. The two-week training course, from 26 September to 7 October, is being run by Mr Dan Gillis, a Senior Search and Rescue Officer of the AMSA.
This training forms part of the Search and Rescue Capability Partnership Programme (SCPP), a collaborative initiative between the AMSA and the counterpart SAR agencies in Sri Lanka, Mauritius and the Maldives, which is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Approximately $2.6 million Australian dollars have been made available to fund this initiative spreading between January 2015 and June 2017.
In his opening address, the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, stated that AMSA expertise is highly reputed in Safety of Navigation, and that this new area of collaboration is an excellent opportunity for Mauritius to benefit from the expertise of Australia in terms of SAR. He highlighted the obligation of Mauritius to provide SAR services since the country is a signatory for both International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and Maritime Search and Rescue.
Speaking about the World Maritime Day 2016 which coincides with the launching of the course, Mr Koonjoo dwelt on the importance of the theme ‘Shipping: Indispensable to the world’. According to him, maritime transport is one of the four cornerstones of globalisation, together with telecommunications, trade liberalisation and international standardisation.
For Mauritius, which is highly dependent on international trade, the shipping and maritime sector plays a key role in the economic development and is gearing itself to become one of the mainstay of the ocean economy with the forthcoming port developments and intensification of maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean basin, the Minister recalled.
For his part, the Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Volkan Alasya noted that Australia is pleased to be working with the Mauritian authorities to build its search and rescue capability. “Recent tragic events such as the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 have highlighted the importance of increased collaboration and coordination amongst regional partners. We appreciate the ongoing support and cooperation which Mauritian authorities have shared with Australia and Malaysia in this respect. Australia is dedicated to working with partner countries to promote maritime security and safety as a means to encourage and protect trade and economic growth,” he said.
The Search and Rescue Capability Partnership Programme
In January 2015, the AMSA commenced its SCPP with counterpart agencies in Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.
This three-year programme includes components of training in search and rescue systems, a staff exchange program to Australia, joint exercises and workshops, and development and installation of key search and rescue systems that are tailored to best meet each individual country’s needs.
The activities under the SCPP have been grouped into three broad categories, namely: Staff training, Systems and material, and Development of a SAR framework.
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