ASEAN, China agree on strengthened sea search, rescue

ASEAN and China have agreed on a number of search and rescue issues to help fishermen and vessels in distress on the East Sea. 

Delegates at the conference
Delegates at the conference

The agreements were made at a two-day seminar organised by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and was attended by delegates from ASEAN member nations and China. The meeting concluded in Hanoi on June 20.

The participants at the event shared the view that seafarers and vessels on the East Sea face numerous risks, including natural disasters and heavy traffic, while their safety equipment is inefficient and information and disaster warnings are inadequate.

Though countries are paying more attention to search and rescue activities, they have had little impact and the number of incidents that occur is rising.

Bruneirepresentatives stressed the need for global-scale co-ordination to respond to emergencies more quickly and effectively.

A number of challenges facing search and rescue activities were also highlighted, including the lack of information sharing and co-ordination among countries, disconnected signal systems and language barriers.

Delegates from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia emphasised the absence of mechanisms and procedures for treating post-rescue victims, adding that sovereignity disputes in the East Sea also hinder rescue co-operation.

Chinese, Malaysian and Singaporean delegates suggested that rescue teams hold regional drills on sand table towards ASEAN–China exercises in the field.

They said ASEAN and China should devise search and rescue regulations and procedures and they encouraged relevant parties to join the 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue.

The recommendations from the seminar will be submitted to senior ASEAN and Chinese officials for consideration./.