| The Marine Department today (October 17)
issued the following information brief on the Hong Kong Maritime
Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC).
MRCC is responsible for coordinating all maritime search and
rescue (SAR) missions in international waters of the South China
Sea, North of Latitude 10 degrees North and West of Longitude
120 degrees East.
In response to the report of a suspected or actual distress
situation of a vessel, Hong Kong MRCC will initiate a series of
basic rescue control and co-ordination functions. Initially the
centre will investigate and verify the reported distress to determine
if an SAR response is needed. If the need is validated, efforts
will be directed towards determining the type of assistance required,
taking into consideration such variables as the nature of the
distress, and the availability of SAR resources.
Once the need for an SAR response has been verified and the
type of response selected, an SAR plan will be developed. MRCC
officers will then co-ordinate SAR resources to execute the SAR
plan. They will be fully engaged in tracking the progress of each
resource responding to the mission, updating participants on any
changes to the distress situation, coordinating support requirements
and documenting all activities associated with the mission. When
all rescue activities have terminated, a report on the mission
will be submitted to the Director of Marine.
Hong Kong MRCC neither possesses nor has direct command over
SAR resources. The role of Hong Kong MRCC is to co-ordinate all
available SAR resources to perform a maritime search and rescue
For SAR cases within Hong Kong waters, Hong Kong MRCC will draw
resources from Government Flying Service (GFS), Hong Kong Marine
Police (Marpol) and Fire Services Department (FSD).
For help in the distant parts of our Search and Rescue Region
where Hong Kong Government resources cannot reach, the Hong Kong
MRCC will rely upon the assistance of merchant ships and fishing
vessels in the vicinity of the distress. Sometimes, according
to prevailing situation, resources of other governments, such
as Vietnam, the Philippines and Mainland China, would also be
solicited to render assistance.
HK MRCC operates 24 hours a day with a Marine Officer, a Marine
Inspector and a GMDSS Operator on duty all the time. All the Marine
Officers in the MRCC are qualified Master Mariners, who have undergone
intensive training in Search and Rescue techniques.
Hong Kong MRCC is equipped with advanced Global Maritime Distress
and Safety System (GMDSS), comprising of:
* Search and Rescue Satellite Tracking System - for detecting
distress signals emitted from a ship's Emergency Position Indicating
Radio Beacon (EPIRB);
* Digital Selective Calling (DSC) System - for receiving distress
signals generated from a ship's DSC;
* High-powered radio transceivers, telex, marine VHF and Inmarsat
telephone and facsimile, etc.
Hong Kong MRCC is also equipped with many direct lines or "hotline"
telephones to agencies that can support SAR operations. The hotlines,
for example, link to the control rooms of Marine Police, the Air
Traffic Control at Chek Lap Kok, Government Flying Service, Fire
Services Department and the Coast Radio Station at Tsim Sha Tsui.
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Hong Kong MRCC maintains very good working relationships with
other rescue centres in the region. These centres include the
Guangdong RCC, Beijing RCC, Taipei RCC, Ho Chi Minh RCC, Japan
Coast Guard, Philippine Coast Guard, and the USA Coast Guard.
Other SAR Contributions:
In recognition of Hong Kong's expertise in maritime SAR matters,
Hong Kong was nominated by the International Maritime Organization
(IMO) to be a member of the working group jointly operated by
IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization to discuss
the harmonization of maritime and aeronautical search and rescue
Tuesday, October 17, 2000