GEN. KATUMBA WAMALA LAUNCHES MARITIME SEARCH AND RESCUE PLAN

The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Works and Transport has prepared a National Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Plan to guide how SAR services will be provided, organized and supported within and outside Uganda for the case of inter-state operations. The Plan was launched by the Minister of Transport General Katumba Wamala.

Gen. Katumba Wamala explained that the Ministry of Transport has prepared a National Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Plan which will be used as a practical tool for Search and Rescue operations in Uganda.

Some of the current and planned operations will include the the establishment of a National Entity to provide Search and Rescue services on 24‑hour basis to ensure that assistance is rendered to persons in distress. The Ministry through the Maritime Administration Department has also set up a Maritime Rescue Call Centre at Fisheries Training Institute (FTI) to receive distress toll free calls using 110 Code.

“Designating Search and Rescue units; Construction works for the establishment of nine Search and Rescue Centres are planned to commence in the coming Quarter to help in coordinating Search and Rescue operations with MDAs and the neighboring States in the region,” the Minister stated adding that in order to have a sustainable National Search and Rescue system, there is need for Inter-Governmental coordination and team work at all levels.

Government of Uganda is a member State of both the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). These are specialized International Organizations of the United Nations responsible for regulating transport safety and security of aviation and maritime sectors globally.

These two Organizations have together developed a joint ICAO/IMO International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual whose primary purpose is to assist Member States like Uganda in meeting their own Search and Rescue needs.

The AMSARCC is set to bring on board all relevant MDAs responsible for successful implementation of the Plan. All stakeholders are urged to receive,  plan and  budget for activities related to the SAR Plan. The Plan will be reviewed every five years to ensure its in line with national and international SAR arrangements

“All personnel involved in SAR operations will undertake SAR-specific training. Uganda will build necessary capacity in terms of human and equipment resources to accomplish the AMSAR obligations and commitments. Research and Development has to be undertaken for improvements in SAR services and results are to be shared with other nations to reduce risk of duplicated efforts and to maximise the benefits of the results.

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