A single SAR agency is crucial

MALAYSIA the ability to be adequately prepared for the potential demand for air and maritime search and rescue (SAR) services is important as Southeast Asia’s air and maritime traffic increases.

The geographical location of our country, which borders the ocean, with 2,068 km for Peninsular Malaysia and 2,607 km for East Malaysia, requires efficient and effective SAR services.

The aviation and maritime sectors will benefit from a safer and more secure environment. Increased security will encourage people to use the country’s air and seascapes, while stimulating economic growth.

SAR agencies respond to distress signals in times of danger to help people at sea. In addition to providing SAR services, Malaysia cooperates, collaborates and, in certain circumstances, provides resources to neighboring countries and other regions. .

The rescue coordination center is designated as the national search and rescue center in the region and is also the international point of contact for SAR services. It is also responsible for setting up and maintaining SAR centres.

SAR operations involve a wide range of personnel performing specific tasks. The International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are international SAR entities.

It is important to note that Malaysia’s legal provisions regarding search and rescue services are in line with the country’s obligations under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on the International Civil Aviation Convention of 1944 and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of ​​1974. However, Malaysia has not yet signed and ratified the SAR Convention of 1979.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), also known as the Malaysia Coast Guard, is an agency under the Ministry of Interior responsible for carrying out and coordinating maritime SAR operations in the region.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) is a government body established under the Ministry of Transport. The establishment of CAAM is consistent with the ICAO requirement that contracting governments to the Chicago Convention establish an independent civil aviation authority to ensure effective administration of air safety and security. civil Aviation.

CAAM is responsible for the regulation and oversight of technical matters of civil aviation, its primary mission being to contribute to the growth of aviation. It is required to adhere to ICAO standards to ensure aviation safety, security and efficiency. Therefore, effective coordination between participating emergency response units is crucial, since the main concerns are to save lives, protect the environment and save property.

According to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual, a country that does not respond adequately to an aircraft or vessel in distress has violated international obligations and procedures to provide all assistance required by the international standards. However, the different positions of the MMEA and CAAM can affect coordination during joint response activities, especially in a complicated rescue effort.

The rapid exchange of information between agencies, as well as the establishment of an appropriate information infrastructure are essential for SAR effectiveness during critical situations.

Divergent information conveyed, communication capacity issues, and a general lack of knowledge to develop collaborative operational capability can impede information sharing between these two agencies.

An ineffective SAR response will result in damage to a country’s international reputation and potential economic loss to sensitive sectors such as tourism and transportation.

Accordingly, CAAM and MMEA should collaborate to create a single aeronautical and maritime structure for the coordination and provision of SAR services. To meet the commitments, a Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) should be established to coordinate search and rescue operations in the event of an air or ocean disaster.

The JRCC will be responsible for organizing, managing and directing the SAR response to air and sea disasters in the region. It should be based under the responsibility of the Department of Transportation and would oversee the coordination of search and rescue efforts by a wide range of federal, state and territorial authorities such as the Department of Defense, Navy, Weather Department, Ministry of Health and the police.

The JRCC will be in charge of all operations, based on strong collaborative ties and the necessary international agreements. This structure will enable us to provide an efficient SAR service to people in distress, wherever they are in Malaysia, to avoid duplication of responsibilities, administrative burdens and unnecessary costs.

With the establishment of the JRCC, information between the CAAM, MMEA and related agencies in the event of an emergency in the country can be shared to avoid duplicating searches. This will make it easier for the rescue team to carry out operations more efficiently, in less time. The IAMSAR guidelines should be adapted to meet Malaysia’s best SAR practices.

An effective response and execution of SAR activities by providing immediate services and assistance to victims of emergencies and calamities will alleviate the suffering of victims and prevent loss of life and property.

This will benefit Malaysia in promoting a safe air and sea landscape, and therefore encourage growth in the agriculture and tourism, trade, leisure, shipping and aviation sectors, which will have a positive impact on the economy, in particular by strengthening Malaysia’s autonomy as a maritime nation. .

Doctor Izyan Munirah Mohd Zaideen is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Maritime Studies, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and Captain Mohd Faizal Ramli is a Marine EHS specialist in the oil and gas sector.

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