The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has been awarded $ 450,000 USD by The TK Foundation to support its work building vital maritime search and rescue (SAR) capability in Africa.
The funding will be spread over three years and will support the IMRF’s Global SAR Development (GSD) project, to help improve SAR capability across 29 countries in Africa, with a focus on building the capability of Rescue Coordination Centres (RCCs), Rescue Sub-Centres (RSCs) and SAR Mission Coordinators.
We have regularly reported the SAR development activity in Africa in previous editions of Lifeline as over the last four years, IMRF has run 19 courses, training 261 SAR personnel, establishing a local network of trainers, who can deliver courses in their own countries and regions.
The TK Foundation funding will enable IMRF to train a further 500 SAR personnel and facilitate the Regional SAR Meetings between 2017 and 2019. The IMRF has also received confirmation of an additional €67k provided by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, which will be provided through the International Maritime Organization Technical Cooperation Committee.
The early work was done by current IMRF chairman, Captain Udo Fox, and past IMRF Trustee, Hamish McDonald, that laid the foundations for the Africa SAR development work. The strong relationship they built with Mr Mohammed Drissi of Morocco, has been the key to success.
Mr Drissi’s commitment and drive has been instrumental to the achievements in Africa.
Mohammed Drissi, says: "We have managed to build momentum though our regular training and regional meetings. As a result, we now have a pool of well-trained SAR coordinators and managers in most of the countries’ Rescue Coordination Centres (RCC) across the region.
"The goal has always been to help each country develop its own RCC capability, so less time is lost and more lives can be saved when accidents occur at sea. We have also developed trainers within the region, so we are less reliant on external trainers, but we could still be doing so much more."
IMRF Members the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (DGzRS), Norwegian Society for Rescue at Sea (RS), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), South Africa SAR Organisation (SASAR) and the Ocean Fisheries Department Morocco have all provided specialist assistance to the project.
The IMRF’s workplan, now boosted by the support from The TK Foundation, will improve maritime search and rescue coordination and help ensure that people who find themselves in distress in the water, can be saved.
"We are delighted to support the IMRF's work developing a strong and well-resourced search and rescue capability across Africa. Far too many people die in the world's waters and this project directly supports our key maritime objectives including broadening knowledge of the maritime world while improving the safety of seafarers. We wish the IMRF every success with the project and believe that it will make a significant difference to the safety of many of those working around the coast or at sea across the region," says Susie Karlshoej, Managing Director, The TK Foundation.
The TK Foundation was established in honor of J. Torben Karlshoej, founder of the Teekay Shipping Group (now Teekay Corporation) and its grants support valuable research, health care, facilities, education and other development opportunities in its areas of focus.