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Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre
The Marine Department today (October 17) issued the following information brief on the Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC).

Functions:

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.

SAR Resources:

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 mission.

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.

Manning:

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.

Communication Equipment:

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.

Statistics:

1998 1999 2000(Up to 30/9)
SAR Cases 72 77 41
Marine Incidents 186 233 164
Total 258 310 205
Lives saved 168 244 129


Overseas Contact:

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 matters.




Tuesday, October 17, 2000