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2016 Activity Report Preventing loss of life in the world’s waters

In 2016 the IMRF: represented maritime search and rescue (SAR) internationally, including at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)/IMO Joint Working Group on SAR

• we contributed to the revision of guidance on SAR cooperation planning between SAR services and passenger ships • we continue to work on amendments to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual

led and supported SAR development around the world, facilitating workshops, training courses and regional development meetings in Africa, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe

• training courses attended by 97 people from 19 African countries • 5 regional SAR development meetings • our ongoing Mass Rescue Operations (MRO) Project, including 3 MRO workshops • 5 SAR conference presentations and a SAR development workshop in Mongolia

continued to respond to the Mediterranean ‘mixed migrant’ crisis 5,000 lives have been saved since 2014

• we have brought government and non-governmental organisation (NGO) SAR organisations together to enhance coordination • we have supported, with training and equipment, the development of the Hellenic Rescue Team as an effective maritime SAR organisation in the Aegean

shared knowledge, skills and resources to help prevent loss of life

• the 5th IMRF European Lifeboat Crew Exchange was rated “excellent” overall by attendees – the exchange has now had 310 participants from 17 countries • the online open-source MRO resource library continues to be developed and has been well-received internationally • we facilitated the delivery of 1,000 lifejackets to fishermen in Bangladesh • our website continues to be a dynamic source of SAR information • we distributed 6 editions of the IMRF LIFE LINE newsletter in 4 languages

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) is the international non-governmental organisation (NGO) working to develop and improve maritime search and rescue (SAR) around the world, preventing loss of life in the world’s waters. The IMRF brings together and represents the world's maritime SAR organisations. We are the only maritime SAR NGO with consultative status at the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO). The World Health Organization (WHO)1 estimates that 372,000 people drown every year. This is one person drowning every 85 seconds or more than 40 people around the world, every hour. These figures do not include all of the lives lost in the world’s waters and many of these deaths could be prevented by improved maritime SAR services and increased awareness of the importance of safety on the world’s waters.

372,000 liveslost in the world’s waters every year

The IMRF was established in 1924, and has 103 member organisations in 49 countries. Find out more at: 1

World Health Organization Global Report on Drowning 2014

Providing advocacy and advice As the international voice of maritime SAR, the IMRF plays a significant role in the development of international maritime SAR regulation and policy, thereby improving safety at sea and maritime search and rescue preparedness. Over the last year the IMRF has:

• contributed to the IMO’s (International Maritime •

• • • • • •

Organization) Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue, particularly the SAR Working Group attended and contributed to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)/IMO Joint Working Group on SAR, particularly the work on SAR cooperation with passenger ships and amendments to the IAMSAR (International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue) Manual spoken at an International Institute of Humanitarian Law seminar in Italy with the Swedish Sea Rescue Society explaining SAR in the migrant context assisted the Baltic MIRG (Maritime Incident Response Group) project addressed the World Humanitarian Summit provided SAR recommendations on work undertaken by the International Committee of the Red Cross advised on Human Rights at Sea guidance regarding NGO coordination in response to the Mediterranean migrant crisis represented the interests of SAR NGOs involved in the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, facilitating relationships between the NGOs and government agencies

“The IMRF has been a strong supporter and participant in the global work undertaken by the ICAO/IMO Joint Working Group on Harmonisation of SAR for many years.

Their active involvement in the development of specific guidance material for the international aviation and maritime SAR community has been invaluable, especially in the area of Mass Rescue Operations, where they are deemed to be world leaders in this field.

I have no hesitation in commending the SAR project work undertaken by the IMRF and their selfless devotion to improvements in the international SAR responsiveness for the benefit of the world’s aviators and mariners”.

Mike Barton, Aeronautical SAR expert, Airspace Management and Optimization Section, Air Navigation Bureau, International Civil Aviation Organization

Global SAR Development The IMRF in partnership with the IMO is working to develop maritime SAR resources and capability across Africa. To this end, the IMRF has:

• delivered 11 regional SAR training courses across • •

North, West and Southern Africa, with 97 participants taking part supported a major SAR exercise in Morocco facilitated three Africa SAR regional meetings which have led to further development of government-led regional SAR plans, as well as establishing a work plan to put actions in place to improve communications developed positive working relationships with four of the African SAR regions

The IMRF Asia-Pacific Regional Centre, based in Shanghai, China, has:

• coordinated the delivery of 1,000 donated • • • •



lifejackets to fishermen in Bangladesh following the drowning of 320 fishermen in September 2015 led a SAR workshop in Mongolia, at the Mongolian Government’s request run a MRO workshop in Malaysia at the 5th International Search and Rescue Conference translated the RNLI Aquatic Survival Programme Manual which is now being used to promote marine safety to school children brought Asia-Pacific SAR organisations together in Ningbo for the 3rd Asia Pacific Maritime SAR Regional Development Meeting

seconds one person drowns

The IMRF Mixed Migrant Safety Project Since its establishment in 2014, in response to unprecedented maritime SAR challenges in the Mediterranean, this project has saved more than 5,000 lives. In addition, IMRF has:

• supplied 22 locator beacons to Proactiva Open Arms • given 10 boat suits and 8 lifejackets to Sea-Watch in the Aegean • sent 300 lifejackets to Sea-Watch in the Central Mediterranean • linked IMRF Associate members Dacon and McMurdo with NGOs, to provide donated equipment to assist them with their operations in the Mediterranean

Organised around the IMRF concept of ‘Members Assisting Members,’ many European IMRF members have taken part. The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue, Swedish Sea Rescue Society, Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution, German Maritime Search and Rescue Service and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have all helped to support, train and equip the Hellenic Rescue Team which operates in support of the Hellenic Coast Guard.

“The IMRF has been the single biggest influencer in the development and advancement of our organization over the last 15 years. Our involvement with the IMRF has provided us with a significant amount of knowledge in regards to operations, training, and leadership which has allowed us to develop at an unprecedented rate.

The connections we have developed through our membership with the IMRF has provided direct and clearly identifiable improvements in our organization. Our training regime and standards were developed with significant influence and assistance from our friendships developed as part of IMRF membership. Vessel standards, policies and procedures, fundraising, governance, recruiting, and rescue training have all rapidly evolved into best practice largely due to our ability to access ideas and knowledge through our connections with the IMRF."

Randy Strandt, Past President, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue

Maritime Mass Rescue Operations A mass rescue operation (MRO) is defined by the IMO as “characterised by the need for immediate response to large numbers of persons in distress such that the capabilities normally available to the SAR authorities are inadequate.” MROs are major life-threatening events beyond normal SAR service capability, and have widespread negative effects, not just on those who are victims of the incident, but also on responders facing a highly traumatic situation. In 2016, the IMRF:

• spoke on MRO issues at conferences in Italy (March), • • • •

South Africa (March), the UK (April and June), and Finland (October) ran a MRO workshop in Denmark at the IQPC conference in Copenhagen (June) and one in Malaysia at the 5th International Search and Rescue Conference (July) ran a workshop in Chile (October), which was facilitated by MRO experts from the United States Coast Guard updated the ‘open source’ MRO on-line resource library ( which was visited 9,491 times in 2016 commenced work on updating the IAMSAR Manual’s MRO guidance, at the request of the ICAO/IMO Joint Working Group on SAR

European Lifeboat Crew Exchange In 2016, 65 people from 12 countries, hosted by nine different organisations, took part in the IMRF’s popular and highly rated European Lifeboat Crew Exchange programme. Five of these successful Exchange programmes have now taken place.

• 310 participants have taken part • 17 countries have been involved • The programme is rated ‘excellent’ by •

participants, and ‘very good’ for networking 99% of participants learnt something new, and the majority go back and share ‘new knowledge’ with their organisations and crews

IMRF H.E.R.O. Awards The IMRF launched its H.E.R.O. Awards – Honouring Excellence in Rescue Operations – in 2016, to help raise the profile and awareness of the work done by people across the maritime SAR sector. Supported by McMurdo, Inmarsat and the Portuguese Lifesaving Institute, the inaugural event attracted high quality nominations from every continent across a wide range of SAR activity. The winners were:

• Mohammed Drissi, who won ‘The Vladimir

Maksimov Award’ for outstanding service to maritime search and rescue, sponsored by Inmarsat, for his guiding leadership of SAR development across the regions of Africa. Captain Hervé Lepage, who won the H.E.R.O. Award for outstanding individual contribution to a maritime SAR operation for leading the rescue of the crew of the catamaran Llama Lo off the South African coast. The Proactiva Open Arms Team, who won the H.E.R.O. Award for outstanding team contribution to a maritime SAR operation for their brave rescue of migrants in the Aegean carried out against overwhelming odds. The RNLI/James Benson/Bournemouth University, who won the H.E.R.O. Award for innovation and technology in maritime search and rescue for the design and development of the ‘BottleBuoy’.

Membership Four new members joined the IMRF in 2016, bringing our total membership to 103 member organisations from 49 countries. IMRF membership provides a unique opportunity for SAR organisations to share knowledge, experience and expertise, through the IMRF’s programme of conferences, meetings, forums and activities. Suppliers into the sector can attend, participate, and engage in discussions and are encouraged to share any innovations that might benefit wider SAR activities.


Middle East/Asia-Pacific

Belgium (1) Cyprus (1) Denmark (4) Estonia (4) Bulgaria (1) Finland (4) France (2) Germany (6) Greece (2) Iceland (1) Ireland (3) Italy (3) Latvia (1) Malta (4) Norway (3) Poland (1) Portugal (1) Russia (1) Spain (2) Sweden (3) Switzerland (1) The Netherlands (3) Turkey (1) United Kingdom (7)

Australia (3) Bangladesh (1) China (7) India (1) Malaysia (1) New Zealand (3) Philippines (1) Sri Lanka (1) United Arab Emirates (1)

Americas Antigua (1) Brazil (2) British Virgin Islands (1) Canada (4) Chile (1) Curaçao (Caribbean) (1) Sint Maarten (Caribbean) (1) United States (4) Uruguay (1) Venezuela (1)

Africa Cape Verde (1) Kenya (1) Morocco (1) South Africa (1) Tanzania (1) Uganda (2)

If you would like to join as a member, please contact: Rebecca Jeffries, email: or telephone +44 (0)1569 767405

Funding The IMRF’s life-saving work depends entirely on the generous support of its members, partners and benefactors, and we would like to express our appreciation to all of our supporters during 2016. Loss of life demands an ongoing response in the maritime setting, and many more lives could be saved. The WHO reports that Africa and Asia-Pacific account for almost 90% of drowning deaths, and the IMRF’s research has found that 93% of ferry accidents and 97% of associated fatalities occur in developing countries. If you would like to support our work please contact:

“ ” “There is no competition in maritime rescue, except with the elements. Cooperation is the key, locally, nationally and internationally” Rolf Westerström, Former IMRF Chairman and Trustee

Caroline Jupe, email: or telephone +44 (0)1569 767405 visit our website: or write to International Maritime Rescue Federation, 50 Allardice Street, Stonehaven AB39 2RA, UK. The International Maritime Rescue Federation is a registered company limited by guarantee in the United Kingdom and registered as a charity in England and Wales. Charity Registration Number: 1100883 Company Registration Number: 4852596.

IMRF - 2016 Activity Report  

IMRF - 2016 Activity Report Preventing Loss of life in the world's waters