Third time for SAR

Foreground | Search-and-rescue professionals meet to go over the details of how they would respond to an incident

(Photo: Kystverket)

Kevin McGwin

Ever wonder how a large-scale search-and-rescue operation in Arctic waters might unfold? You aren’t alone. As more ships travel to and through the region, the people who will be responsible for organising a rescue expect it is just a matter of time, and, as a consequence, they are putting a lot of effort into figuring out how to save as many lives as possible and to protect the environment.

Such operations are more complicated than you might think, involving, at least in the Norwegian case (see video below), fighter jets, cargo planes, surveillance aircraft, helicopters, drones, satellites and more.

Spoiler alert: the video has a happy ending, but if that is to be the case in real life, search-and-rescue professionals will need to labour over every detail. One recent study, for example, found that, even in cold weather, the recommended water ration would likely be inadequate. Another consideration that should have been obvious, but had not been considered: what do people waiting aboard a life raft for several days do when they need to go to the bathroom?

This week, Arcsar, an EU-funded project that brings together practitioners involved in front-line response, will hold the last of a series of three workshops looking into specific details related to search-and-rescue operations. On the agenda are discussions about technology, equipment, situational awareness and involving indigenous groups in operations. Previous meetings looked at things like the Polar Code and how to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

In the event of an accident, time is not going to be on their side, all the more reason to make sure that the clock never starts ticking.

When: 26-28 Feb
Where: Rome, Italy

Related article
EU Millions to High North Search and Rescue

Foreground articles offer a preview of events related to the Arctic that will be taking place in coming week.

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