Comment Sought on Search and Rescue Amendment Regulations

Department of Transport

South African Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Amendment Regulations have been drafted.

The transport department published the draft regulations in Government Gazette 41797 for comment.

They were drawn up in terms of the South African Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Act.

The proposed regulations seek to amend the title by removing reference to aeronautical search and rescue and including maritime search and rescue.

New definitions on “emergency position indicating radio beacon”, “search and rescue” and “state of registry” are included.

“Search and rescue means an operation normally coordinated by a rescue coordination centre or rescue sub-centre using available personnel and facilities to locate persons in distress”.

Other proposals include the procedure for allowing foreign rescue coordination centres (RCC) to enter South African territory, ensuring that RCCs make available information regarding search plans of operation and that all SAR units are aware of the plans of operation and that RCC personnel making use of radio-telephony communications are proficient in English to a minimum standard of level 4.

The draft amendments also specify how RCCs are to conduct themselves in various phases such as uncertainty, alert, distress and emergency.

Different visual signal codes to be used by rescue units when communicating with search and rescue aircraft are spelled out. The symbols must be at least 2.5 metres long.

Comment on the draft regulations is invited within 30 days of the date of publication.

Sabinet Cape Town Office