According to a release, 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, 2022, at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
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.
Director of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, Mr John M. Samuel said that the training was 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 as well as systems plans and that 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 and will house various modes of vessel communication, including Very High Frequency (VHF), Medium & High Frequency (MF/HF) radios and Satellite communication (SAT-C).
He said the VI is also 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.”
According to information, the five-day SAR training ensured participants received a solid understanding of key industry skills including search planning, the search effort, modern technology and searching, lost person behaviour, rescue considerations and more.