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  • sar@anzdmc.com.au

The submarine intervention gear ship MV Besant in Cockburn Sound approaching Fleet Base West in Western Australia. *** Local Caption *** The submarine intervention gear ship MV Besant arrived at Fleet Base West in Western Australia on 6 July 2015. The vessel, name after Lieutenant Commander Thomas Besant, Commanding Officer of the submarine AE1, will be joined later in the year by the longer rescue gear ship, MV Stoker. The two vessels will replace MV Seahorse Standard enhancing the submarine rescue capability.

The disappearance of EgyptAir flight MS804, presumed lost over the eastern Mediterranean on a flight between Paris and Cairo with all 66 on board, is the latest passenger aircraft to go missing. The loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 along with its 239 passengers over the Indian Ocean in March 2014 still looms large – the aircraft is yet to be found. While the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean greatly differ in size, both disasters highlight the difficulty of search and rescue operations at sea.

Maritime search and rescue is difficult for many reasons, but operations at sea are inevitably complicated in comparison to those on land – not least due to the need for international cooperation, and the effects of the shifting waters under which that which is lost must be found.

An aircraft that crashes on land may end up in inaccessible areas such as tropical forests or mountain peaks, but it will remain at the same location until it is located. And this location, wherever it is, is most likely to be within a single sovereign state’s national territory, jurisdiction and responsibility.

At sea, however, the additional dimension of depth makes the rescue teams’ efforts extremely hard. This not only comes from the physical difficulty of working under the pressure and depth of the water column above any wreck, along with the darkness or disturbed seabed sediment that make visual location and identification almost impossible. But the flight data recorder transmitter is limited to a range of about 5km: the depth of seawater into which any wreckage falls may mean a strong signal becomes weak and distant, even to those searching directly overhead. Finding MH370’s transmitter in the 73.5 million km2 of the Indian Ocean is an incredible task; at 2.5 million km2 the Mediterranean may be smaller, but it is certainly not small.

Search and rescue at sea will be discussed at The 2016 Australian and New Zealand Search and Rescue Conference (ANZSAR); Land, Sea & Air next week at Jupiters Gold Coast on the 1 June 2016.

CLICK HERE to view the Conference Program with an impressive line up of keynote speakers and targeted forums it makes this the premier conference to attend in the Oceania region.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Delegates may also wish to attend the 5th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference also held at Jupiters Gold Coast, QLD on the 30-31 May 2016.

Special discount rates are being offered to those that wish to attend both Conferences.

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