Monday, April 9, 2018

More Aid for Maritime Rescue Operations as Drowning Death Toll Reaches Horrendous Levels

Insurance Club Money Needed to Educate in a Bid to Reduce Litany of Horror
Shipping News Feature
UK – WORLDWIDE – The UK P&I Club is the latest organisation to make a significant donation to the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) to support its work developing resources, training and building preparedness for maritime mass rescue operations. Estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO) state that one person drowns every 85 seconds, a staggering death toll exceeding 360,000 every year, over 7% of injury related fatalities, and the IMRF devotes all its resources to bringing down this total using up to date search and rescue methods and equipment.

There are hotspots around the globe for maritime disasters. The Philippines has witnessed countless needless tragedies, often on grossly overloaded passenger ferries, whilst the Mediterranean witnesses an ongoing litany of horror, with men, women and children trying to cross the sea using hopelessly inadequate means in search of a better life. The IMRF operations cover both these, and many other areas of concern across the world’s oceans.

The IMRF is the international non-governmental organisation which works to develop and improve maritime search and rescue (SAR) capability around the world, preventing loss of life in the world's waters. Mass rescue operations, are defined by the International Maritime Organization, as being beyond normal SAR capability and therefore of vital interest to anyone with a role in the planning and response to such emergencies.

Part of the UK P&I Club funding will provide essential support for the IMRF online resource library which brings together as much mass rescue operations (MRO) guidance material as possible. The online library is free to use and available to SAR professionals around the world, the funding will update the information available, enabling SAR services to better plan and prepare for MRO situations.

The remaining funding will support two scholarships for the IMRF MRO Subject-Matter Expert course which will be held in September 2018. The only course of its kind, it was launched last year. It offers a detailed study of MRO issues, giving the attendees the skills to assess their own organisation's capability to respond to MRO events and includes follow-up support from the IMRF as needed.

The second Subject-Matter Expert MRO course will be held at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden, from 4-6 September 2018. The two scholarships will include course fees, travel and accommodation expenses. They will make an immediate and real difference to the benefitting SAR service, enabling two individuals to attend who would not otherwise be able to afford to. Theresa Crossley, CEO of the IMRF said:

"The IMRF is very grateful to the UK P&I Club for this generous contribution, which will support our important work in this area. Thankfully such incidents are rare, at least in the developed world, but they are extremely challenging when they do happen. That is why it's so very important to plan and train and build relationships with the right people before a response is needed. It's not 'if', but 'when'. Put simply, the better prepared the responders are, the more lives they will save."

The International Maritime Rescue Federation was founded (as the International Lifeboat Federation) in 1924. In 1985 it was granted non-governmental consultative status with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in recognition of the good work being undertaken and the growing need for an organisation to act as a global focal point for maritime search and rescue. In 2003 it was registered as an independent charity and in 2007 the organisation was renamed to reflect the broader scope of modern maritime search and rescue activity.

The UK P&I Club is one of the oldest P&I clubs in the world. It provides Protection and Indemnity insurance for third party liabilities and expenses to ship owners and operators. One of the largest P&I clubs, it insures over 239 million tonnes of owned and chartered ships from more than fifty countries round the world. Stuart Edmonston, the UK P&I Club's Head of Loss Prevention observed:

"The IMRF works to prevent the loss of lives at sea which, as a major provider of maritime protection and indemnity insurance, is a priority for us too. Every year the UK P&I Club supports a selection of charities, usually with a maritime theme as part of our business commitment to CSR. The IMRF's work to increase knowledge and resources around mass rescue operations is vitally important globally."