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ruben.maritime

The first web2.0 spanish blog about Maritime Affairs. El primer blog web2.0 español sobre el sector marítimo.

South African Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) inaugurated

 17 January 2007

Search and rescue boost for Atlantic and Indian Oceans -
South African Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) inaugurated



Another gap in the effective search and rescue coverage along the coast
of Africa and out into the Indian and Atlantic Oceans has been filled
with the inauguration of a new Maritime Rescue Co ordination Centre
(MRCC) in Cape Town, South Africa.

The MRCC was commissioned, on 16 January 2007, by IMO Secretary-General
Efthimios E. Mitropoulos during an official visit to South Africa.

The commissioning of the Centre was preceded by the formal signing of a
Multilateral Agreement between the Governments of the Comoros,
Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa on the co-ordination of maritime
search and rescue services in areas adjacent to their coast.

Mr. Mitropoulos, who unveiled a plaque at the new MRCC alongside South
Africa's Transport Minister, Mr. Jeff Radebe, described the centre as
"a major step forward for this country and for this region, but also
for the maritime and shipping world as a whole and for the international
community of seafarers upon whom we all rely so much."

"Situated at the hub of one of the world's busiest trade routes, on
the southern tip of the great continent of Africa, this regional
Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre will plug one of the remaining gaps
in the global search and rescue network and help to put at rest the
minds of all those whose work takes them into its area of coverage,
whether they be deep sea mariners or the 27,000 or more South Africans
employed in the fishing industry," he said, adding that, despite its
benign name, the Cape of Good Hope frequently exposes seafarers to the
extremes of weather and sea conditions.

More than 4,000 ships in transit pass by the Cape of Good Hope every
year as they navigate South Africa's coastline of nearly 3000km.

The opening ceremony was also attended by Ms. Lindiwe Mabuza, Permanent
Representative of South Africa to IMO and High Commissioner for the
Republic of South Africa in London.

In addressing the staff of the Centre, Secretary-General Mitropoulos,
having congratulated them for the humanitarian task they were asked to
perform, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, gave them some
advice: "Never be complacent, never allow routine and boredom to
impair your actions and decisions, never underestimate the seriousness
of any distress incident you handle and never consider any incident to
be the same as others you dealt with in the past - because each has its
own peculiarities and special characteristics that demand special
attention. Remain focused and, every time you co-ordinate a SAR
operation, give your undivided attention to the task in hand. And never
forget that you represent the last hope of those seafarers for whom fate
has in store the bitter experience of a shipwreck. You will be the
first they will thank once rescued and safe on solid ground; and you
will have their eternal gratitude and that of their families."

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