Proceedings Of The Marine

FALL 2011

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, and the nine U.S. Coast Guard joint rescue coordination centers as well as two joint rescue sub-centers that stand watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. Many other federal, state, local, and tribal agencies have simi- lar 24-hour integrated centers that provide rescue response for missing aircraft, missing vessels, miss- ing persons, medical evacuation, and many other aspects of emergency response. International Coordination At the international level, the aeronautical search and rescue response is built upon the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 12, which advises SAR services within its territories and over those portions of the high seas or areas of undeter- mined sovereignty.1 States (in this case "states" refers to sovereign nations) that are party to the conven- tion promulgate a framework in which the aviation WUDIÀF EHWZHHQ QDWLRQV LV DIIRUGHG D FRPPRQ VHDUFK and rescue response. States maintain their sovereign borders, but agree to coordinate effective search and UHVFXH VHUYLFHV ,Q WKH VDPH ZD\ DLU WUDIÀF VHUYLFHV DUH FRRUGLQDWHG WR DOORZ IRU FURVV ERUGHU DLU WUDIÀF SAR services are likewise provided for. States recommend common search and rescue plans and procedures to facilitate coordination of search and rescue operations with those of neighboring states. To affect this expeditious coordination, states should request assistance from other rescue coordina- tion centers, including aircraft, vessels, personnel, or equipment, and grant necessary permission for the entry of such aircraft, vessels, personnel, or equip- ment into its territory. To affect this, the world is divided into search and rescue regions, each with a rescue coordination center and associated SAR services that assign responsibility and delineate search and rescue missions. There are WZR LPSRUWDQW EHQHÀWV WKDW UHVXOW IURP WKLV PHWKRG of organizing the global SAR network. • ,W DOORZV SDUWLFLSDWLQJ VWDWHV ZLWK D GHÀQHG 6$5 responsibility to concentrate resources in that area. • ,W HVWDEOLVKHV WKH DELOLW\ WR FRRUGLQDWH ZLWK DQ adjacent region, as states agree to publish the con- tact information, coordinating procedures, and plan for SAR in their areas and adjacent areas. A memorandum of understanding between the res- cue agencies of the United States and Canada allows www.uscg.mil/proceedings As noted in its annual report, in 2010 the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center responded to more than 5,000 distress alerts. Of these, 550 were some form of distress alert outside the United States. search and rescue personnel, aircraft, and vessels to coordinate, synchronize, and respond in a timely and effective manner.2 This agreement respects the sover- eignty of the two nations and allows for mutual sup- port of search and rescue operations. For example, along the United States and Canadian border, search and rescue aircraft in receipt of a dis- tress alert or beacon can respond to the crash site and XVH WKH 5&& DQG DLU WUDIÀF VHUYLFHV WR DIIHFW DQ LPPH- diate "state" entry for the purpose of lifesaving. The rescue coordination centers on both sides of the bor- GHU FRQGXFW WKH QHFHVVDU\ FRRUGLQDWLRQ WR GHFRQÁLFW these actions and allow rescue forces to transit the boundary uninhibited by the routine process. It May Be a Race, But It's Not a Competition A key link in the air domain is the relationship and FRRUGLQDWLRQ EHWZHHQ WKH DYLDWLRQ WUDIÀF VHUYLFH agency and the rescue coordination center. In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration air route WUDIÀF FRQWURO FHQWHUV DQG WKH 5&&V DUH OLQNHG E\ SKRQH DQG WKURXJK WKH DHURQDXWLFDO À[HG WHOHFRP- PXQLFDWLRQ QHWZRUN 7KLV ZRUOGZLGH DLU WUDIÀF QHW- work receives alerts regarding missing aircraft in the form of INCERFA (when there is concern about the safety of an aircraft), ALERFA (alerts), and DETRESFA (reasonable certainty that an aircraft is in grave and LPPLQHQW GDQJHU QRWLÀFDWLRQV 3 In the example at the beginning of this article, an ALERFA notice issued to a rescue coordination center includes the information necessary to start the SAR process. A similar function would be provided from DQ\ DLU WUDIÀF VHUYLFH WR LWV 5&&V ZLWK ORFDO YDULDQFHV based on each state's implementation process. Another link is direct coordination between rescue coordination centers. While in many cases there are GLSORPDWLF DQG SURFHGXUDO JXLGHOLQHV WR GHÀQH FRRU- dination and contact between states, participating states have the framework to allow RCCs to maintain vital, immediate contact. Fall 2011 Proceedings 41

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