ISU Plan for Faster Response to Marine Emergencies

Thursday, December 05, 2002
Concern for the marine environment will ensure that salvors and governments will continue to develop closer links, Joop Timmermans, President of the International Salvage Union (ISU) said today (December 5). Speaking at the Salvage & Wreck Removal Conference in London, the ISU President said: “New opportunities are opening up for cooperation with governments. One option is a new approach to providing information on salvage vessels, equipment and other resources available, locally and nationally, to confront a marine emergency. Obviously, National Response Plans include salvage-related information. Salvors could do more, however, to ensure that – as a minimum – all national plans hold comprehensive and up-to-date information on salvage resources. Even the availability of a single item of equipment, such as a large crane, could have a major impact when responding to an emergency.” Looking ahead, Joop Timmermans added: “A long-term aim could involve the construction of information systems which ensure that governments, coastguard agencies, port authorities, coastal local authorities and other parties have fingertip access to accurate information on all salvage resources readily available for casualty response.” The ISU President also urged salvors and governments to take new initiatives to train and exercise together to confront marine casualties. He said: “One special benefit of these activities is the steady growth of trust between those holding senior positions and responsible for taking key decisions in a real emergency. “Ideally, all National Response Plans should provide for joint training and exercises. Hopefully, these closer relationships, forged at a personal level, will raise awareness of the significance of the salvor’s role and, at the same time, discourage the use of casual salvors with no long-term commitment to salvage.” On command and control issues related to salvage, Joop Timmermans praised the British system, under which the Salvage Master retains operational control, unless the Secretary of State’s Representative (SOSREP) intervenes. He said: “I would not suggest this system is perfect but it is probably our best model yet for fast, efficient decision-making during a casualty response. Other governments would do well to consider the UK model.”

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