RCCNZ Praised for Missing Schooner Search Effort

By George Backwell
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Lost schooner 'Nina': Image courtesy of Maritime NZ

The search for the missing schooner 'Nina' by the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) in June-July 2013 went beyond what many overseas authorities would have conducted, an independent reviewer has found.

RCCNZ explain that David Baird, former General Manager of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Emergency Response Division, conducted the independent review at the request of Maritime New Zealand Director Keith Manch.

The reviewer found: “In many areas RCCNZ went well beyond the requirements of the SAR Convention and its Standard Operating Procedures, demonstrating conviction, compassion and determination to achieve a satisfactory result. Adding that, “RCCNZ went further in effort, resource allocation, consultation and duration than many of the other highly regarded SAR authorities would have done.”

The reviewer has made a number of recommendations relating to RCCNZ’s Standard Operating Procedures but has emphasised these do not reflect any failings in the search for the Nina.

The reviewer’s recommendations cover such issues as:
    •    improving handover procedures and processes for ranking different last known positions
    •    developing better processes for notifying next of kin and other interested parties during searches
    •    improving access to information from satellite phone providers
    •    testing use of satellite imagery
    •    developing measures to improve cruising boat safety.

He states that had the recommendations been addressed prior to the search “the timetable of action in the search for the Nina may have been a little different, but the outcome of the SAROP (Search and Rescue Operation) would have been the same”.

Keith Manch welcomed findings in the review.
“Given the complexity of this operation and the overseas agencies involved, it was appropriate to get an independent view of the search,” he said. “It is gratifying to receive confirmation that all practical steps were taken to find the Nina – but there is no doubt this will forever remain an extremely tragic event for the families of those aboard the vessel. Our sympathies are with them.”


 

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