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Independent reviewer praises RCCNZ search for Nina

Independent reviewer praises RCCNZ search for Nina

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.

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 review report is available here: http://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/News/Media-releases-2014/SAR-Nina-Review-June-2014.pdf

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.

“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.

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.”

Maritime New Zealand’s General Manager Safety and Response Services Nigel Clifford said the review report confirmed the results of internal debriefs of the search operation.

“We again offer our condolences to the families and friends of those onboard the Nina. The staff of RCCNZ are extremely disappointed that the search did not have a positive outcome,” Mr Clifford said.

“The independent review confirms that everything that could have been done to find the Nina was done by RCCNZ – and that is something we believed was the case prior to suspending the search. We are nevertheless committed to continuous improvement and, as such, welcome the reviewer’s recommendations. We are now working to implement them.”

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.


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