Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations
Phone: (284) 468-2730
The Virgin Islands has been put a step closer to the establishment of a Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) with the training of 14 individuals representing the Virgin Islands’ search and rescue response teams.
The lead agency, the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR), engaged Search and Rescue (SAR) instructor, Mr. Jean Houde, President and CEO of IAMSAR Solution, Canada to facilitate the Fundamentals of Search & Rescue training from May 23 to 27 at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
Director of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, Mr. John said that the training is a right first step and that the broad cross agency participation has created a potential human resource base that improves the Territory’s capability to effectively respond and perform in SAR cases.
Mr. Samuel stated that more developments will continue in SAR over the coming year with scheduled improvements in capability, systems plans and Memoranda Of Understanding.
The Director also said the Search and Rescue training is integral in the creation of a Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in the Virgin Islands. The centre is a facility that acts as the national central point for executing and managing a nation’s maritime safety and communication obligations. The facility will house various modes of vessel communication, including Very High Frequency (VHF), Medium & High Frequency (MF/HF) radios and Satellite communication (SAT-C).
Director Samuel said the Virgin Islands is implementing the various elements required to bring the Territory into IMO III Code compliance, adding, “Some elements of required improvement surround coastal state responsibilities, one of which is Search and Rescue. Our systems require improvement, and we are making strides as a VI unit to improve them.”
Mr. Samuel also shared that two VISR team members, Mr. Shaamuoy Baronville and Mr. Jamil Vanterpool, who participated in last week’s training, are scheduled to attend SAR master training in Canada this month.
Commenting on his experience, Mr. Baronville said he was reminded of the VISR’s vision is to become a leading Maritime Administration in the Caribbean, and that he “can clearly see how the training can help make our vision a reality”.
“We are taking ‘safety of lives at sea’ to the next level,” he said.
While affirming that the entire training was “awesome” and “resourceful”, Mr. Baronville said that his favourite module dealt with SAR technology, adding, “I look forward to learning more about using the equipment to save lives.”
About the upcoming SAR training in Canada, Mr. Baronville said, “I look forward to the actual hands-on experience that can be used in developing an effective BVI Maritime Search and Rescue Plan.”
The five-day SAR training ensured participants received a solid understanding of all SAR key players, agreements and conventions, the COSPAS SARSAT system, IAMSAR manuals, ICAO Annex XII, aeronautical SAR incidents and search planning, maritime SAR incidents and search planning, the search effort, modern technology and searching, lost person behaviour, rescue considerations and more.
Nine VISR team members were trained, in addition to two officers from Her Majesty’s Customs, two officers from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Marine Unit and one team member from Virgin Island Search and Rescue.