Canadian SAR Seminars a Success

Posted in MRO Events

The Canadian SAR Seminar

The Canadian SAR Seminar

Twice a year the IMRF Trustees meet to advance the strategic direction of the organisation.

To make best use of the travel and time involved the meetings are held in countries where there are opportunities to meet with the local and national maritime SAR organisations to learn from their initiatives and share knowledge and experience with the IMRF.

In late September the IMRF Trustees were hosted in Vancouver, Canada, by IMRF members, RCM-SAR with the support of the Canadian Coast Guard, Port Metro Vancouver, JRCC Victoria and Canadian National Defence.

Two full days of seminars were held at HMCS Discovery on the Vancouver harbour with over 50 delegates attending from Maritime SAR services both local and National.

Discussions and presentations looked at the structure of Maritime SAR in Canada, took in case studies highlighting the challenges of rescue in some of the remoter areas of Canada and provided an update on the development of RCM-SAR from standardising vessels to their new proposed training facility.

Port Metro Vancouver presented on the recently established Marine Emergency Co-Ordinating Committee (MERCC), which brings together all the organisations, who have a stake in maritime SAR operations in the port area to build relationships so there is "no need to exchange business cards in the middle of an emergency ".


IMRF Chairman, Michael Vlasto, with
Rear Admiral Bill Truelove, Commandant of
Maritime Forces/Joint Task Force (Pacific)

Sunday also saw a keynote speech from Rear Admiral Bill Truelove, OMM, CD, Commander of Maritime Forces/Joint Task Force (Pacific) and an opening address and welcome from Roger Girouard, Assistant Commissioner Canadian Coast Guard, and Western Region.

IMRF Trustees, Captain Rolf Westerstrom, James Vaughan, Captain Udo Fox and Captain Song provided international viewpoints on maritime SAR developments in their respective countries and SAR organisations. 

MRO Project Manager David Jardine-Smith provided an overview of the key Mass Rescue Operations Project reflecting on some of the emerging challenges faced in Canada with the melting of the Arctic ice cap and the potential for increasing traffic flows through this remote region.

The two days of discussions were augmented by SAR equipment demonstrations and a mock evacuation of the main seminar room to demonstrate how the CASTrack System worked. It is confirmed all attendees were safely evacuated and accounted for!

We have provided the copies of the presentations below, which provides more detail on the areas covered by this article.

In his closing remarks at the end of the seminar IMRF Chairman Michael Vlasto said, "We have learned a lot during our time in Canada – you have shown us some of your impressive assets and given us a better understanding of the particular challenges of SAR operations in the future if the NW and NE passages open up as major shipping routes. In terms of best practice you have a lot to offer others in different parts of the world, which could lead to more lives being saved as a result."

IMRF Chairman presents Randy Strandt with
a IMRF flag as thanks for a job well done

It is only fitting that the final word goes to Randy Strandt, the man on the ground working with Captain Clay Evans from the Canadian Coast Guard, to make the seminar the success it was.

"It was our great pleasure to host the IMRF Trustees and Staff in Vancouver" says Randy. "The value of sharing 'best practices' in maritime SAR cannot be overstated. We have been significantly influenced and greatly improved over the past decade or so as a result of the unrestricted sharing of information with our SAR friends around the world. Our training standards, fundraising, SAR vessels, and operating procedures have all been developed in a substantial way through these interactions with IMRF members. We feel very confident in recommending to any maritime SAR organisation or their related agencies of the value of being closely associated with the IMRF."

The IMRF would like to thank all those involved for their help in making the event a success and to the attendees who took the time to come and participate in the seminars.  

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Contact Info

International Maritime Rescue Federation
50 Allardice Street
AB39 2RA
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1569 767405


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