EMSA participates in Joint Search and Rescue exercise in the Adriatic Sea
In Venice this week, EMSA supported the maritime authorities of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia in an international Search and Rescue exercise (SARex) held in close cooperation with EFCA and Frontex.
Collaboration and coordination were put to the test among the involved maritime authorities as the Adriatic Sea SARex unfolded across their respective Search and Rescue areas.
Overall situational awareness, the effectiveness of communication systems and channels would all be key to the success of the exercise.
Furthermore, beyond the immediate challenge, the exercise would also serve as an opportunity to evaluate existing procedures, best practices and bilateral agreements related to Search and Rescue operations in the Adriatic Sea.
The actual scenario – held on 26 September – revolved around the loss of contact with a pleasure craft sailing from Venice, across the north of the Adriatic Sea area, towards Portorož marina in Slovenia.
EMSA led the Joint Coordination Team which was composed of representatives of the maritime authorities from Croatia (MSTI- Ministry of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure), Italy (ICG-Italian Coast Guard), Slovenia (SMA- Slovenian Maritime Administration), as well as EFCA and Frontex. It was the role of the team to trigger the exercise, provide technical and operational input, monitor execution and finally to conclude the exercise.
On the execution side, were the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC) and Maritime Rescue Sub Centres (MRSC) from each participating state. These hubs received details of the unfolding scenario and – after assessing the information – tasked their SAR teams to verify the input and locate the missing cutter and its passengers, ensuring the safe return of the rescued persons to shore.
EFCA’s chartered vessel, the Ocean Sentinel, was actively involved in the exercise serving as the base for one of the two MEDEVAC operations which took place via helicopter. These elements collectively contributed to a true-to-life simulation, fostering heightened cooperation and coordination in a view to increase safety and coordination in the Adriatic Sea.
This exercise was an important component of the ongoing EFCA-led Multipurpose Maritime Operation in the Adriatic Sea (MMO Adria 2023) which runs from 12 September to 9 October.