Australia recently joined 16 other nations to participate in the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s (IORA) Search and Rescue (SAR) exercises. The major international events, led by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and involving key regional partners, were held in the Seychelles from 29 August to 1 September and Bangladesh from 5 to 8 September 2022. The ‘desktop-based’ workshops were designed to support regional efforts to improve maritime and aviation safety across the Indian Ocean region and help boost economic activity and build prosperity in IORA Member States. The SAREXs provided an opportunity for Australia to share knowledge and reinforce our strong bilateral relationships with countries that border our vast search and rescue region, spanning about 10 per cent of the earth’s surface. AMSA Response Centre Duty Manager Jim Fryday said the location of the exercises recognised the importance of the Indian Ocean as a major transit area for international trade. “One third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic, around half of the world’s container ships and two thirds of the world’s oil shipments cross its waters annually, making the Indian Ocean a vital trade and shipping route,” Mr Fryday said. “The importance of having strong search and rescue arrangements have been highlighted by a number of significant maritime disasters in Indian Ocean region in recent years. The workshops offered an opportunity to ensure shipping and incident response can be conducted safely with cooperation between port states, governments and non-governmental organisations.” Mr Fryday said Australia was chosen to help lead the exercises due to our world-class SAR capabilities and experience. “The SAREXs involved Australian Government representatives from AMSA and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), with strong support provided by the IORA Secretariat and IORA Member States in the eastern and western Indian Ocean region,” Mr Fryday said. “The exercises provided an opportunity to showcase Australia’s SAR capability, training and expertise as well as engage on an international level with key stakeholders and partners. There were also tours of local SAR facilities held during the exercises.” A report highlighting outcomes from the workshops will be made available soon. Learn more about IORA: https://www.iora.int/enPhotos and videos of both SAREXs can be found here: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/gdtZQcKfKv
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