• Conference Secretariat 07 5502 2068
  • sar@anzdmc.com.au

The 4th annual Australian and New Zealand Search and Rescue Conference will be held on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 at the Star Gold Coast. 

Mr Dean Lawrence, Trustee at the International Maritime Rescue Federation joins us at the Conference to present ‘Mass Rescue Operations’.

Mr Dean Lawrence


According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) a mass rescue operation (MRO) is ‘characterised by the need for immediate response to large numbers of persons in distress such that the capabilities normally available to the SAR authorities are inadequate’. If normal SAR capabilities are inadequate, we must identify extra capability, primarily at the planning stage, to fill the gap.

In SAR terms the effect of a maritime MRO is more important than the cause, whether a passenger ship or aircraft accident, an offshore industry emergency, the rescue by sea of people caught up in land-based emergencies, or multiple incidents occurring simultaneously. Whatever the cause we must be ready to respond, or risk being overwhelmed. This means specific multi-agency planning, training, and the testing of both plans and training. Above all it means successful communication, before and after MROs as well as during them.

Filling the ‘capability gap’ also means agreeing to share resources, identifying additional resource (for example, shipping in the area) and/or extending survival time by providing support on scene until those in distress can be rescued.

The IMRF seeks to raise awareness and encourage discussion of the MRO issues by arranging workshops, seminars & conferences, and a new training course, and providing a dynamic online MRO reference library, freely available at www.imrfmro.org.


Dean Lawrence has been involved in Maritime Search and Rescue Operations for 30 years, with the Royal New Zealand Coastguard. Currently still active as a Rescue Vessel Master and as a Maritime Search and Rescue Coordinator. Having recently completed the three year term as the National President, he remains a Board member and is also a Board member of Water Safety New Zealand. Elected to the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) as a Trustee in 2015 and was subsequently appointed to the Asia Pacific Regional Board in 2017.

For information on the upcoming 2018 Australian and New Zealand Search and Rescue Conference please visit the conference website.



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