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NZ updates search and rescue ties with Cook Islands

DATE: 1 March 2012
NZ updates search and rescue ties with Cook Islands
The updating of an agreement between New Zealand and the Cook islands will help ensure greater communication and collaboration during search and rescue missions, says Maritime New Zealand (MNZ).

MNZ’s Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is responsible for responding to major land, sea, air and emergency-beacon related incidents within New Zealand ’s Search and Rescue (SAR) region – a 30 million square kilometre area that includes the Cook Islands .

“The signing of this agreement with the Cook Islands Government officially recognises importance of ensuring good cooperation and communication during search and rescue operations with other territories that fall within New Zealand ’s SAR region,” says Director of Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) Keith Manch.

“The agreement also formalises the process for sharing information and resources to mount effective and timely rescues within that region.”

RCCNZ and the Cook Islands Police are the implementing agencies for the updated agreement, which says that both will agree to:
• Promptly and regularly exchange information during actual or potential distress situations
• Assist each other where appropriate during SAR missions in their respective areas within New Zealand ’s SAR region
• Take appropriate measures for the use of SAR units and facilities within New Zealand and the Cook Islands while engaged on SAR missions
• Exchange information on current SAR resources available, to ensure shared knowledge of each other’s SAR capabilities
• Conduct regular communications checks with each other to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of SAR communication links
• Conduct periodic SAR exercises to test agencies’ ability to coordinate effective joint SAR operations in their areas of responsibility; and
• Where appropriate, exchange relevant SAR documentation, to allow for the development of shared procedures and systems that will work smoothly in practice.
“The agreement is also in line with what the International Maritime Organisation and International Civil Aviation Organisation encourage member countries to do, in that it takes the uncertainty and hassle out of coordinating SAR missions that cross between different countries,” says MNZ Manager of Safety Services, Nigel Clifford.

Mr Clifford says RCCNZ will also be looking to update agreements with other Pacific Island states over the coming year.

ENDS

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