Australia-Indonesia search and rescue exercise strengthens maritime safety

A search and rescue exercise (SAREX) between Australia and Indonesia was held August 5 to further strengthen relationships between the two nations and improve overall transport safety and assistance in Indonesia.

The annual SAREX, involving the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) as well as Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue body (BASARNAS) and the Kupang SAR Office (RSC), was held via video teleconference due to current COVID restrictions.

Exercise “Samudera 2021”, a four-hour emergency simulation, involved a range of SAR scenarios, deployments and coordination around the mock rescue of an Indonesia flagged fishing vessel Bandar Samudera 21 located in Indonesian waters.

The exercise was undertaken as part of the Indonesian Transport Safety Assistance Package (ITSAP), which was established in July 2007 through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications under the Australia-Indonesia Partnership Country Strategy 2008-13.

The ITSAP program helps Indonesia to regulate and promote transport safety in accordance with international standards and safety management practices.

AMSA Policy and Regulation Executive Director Leanne Loan said the search and rescue training highlighted the strong levels of cooperation, engagement and progress being made under the transport safety assistance program.

“Australia and Indonesia have shared a close maritime safety partnership for many years. Both our nations are active members of the governing Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and we share a vision to foster safe, efficient and reliable maritime transport in our region,” Loan said.

AMSA Response Centre Manager Kevin McEvoy said the exercise was vital for refining the search and rescue coordination between the two nations, in order to be properly prepared for major incidents.

“Australia shares a maritime border with Indonesia, and AMSA and BASARNAS often work closely together to respond to maritime incidents and emergencies,” McEvoy said.  “This real-time exercise helps to test our capabilities and coordination mechanisms, as well as strengthen the relationship with our neighbors.”

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