St Helena puts its search and rescue to the test

Search and rescue response has been put to the test in St Helena in an exercise simulating a maritime emergency.

The exercise simulated a yacht with five people on board sinking near St Helena and involved the emergency responders - St Helena Sea Rescue Service, St Helena Radio, Police Silver Command and the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Cape Town South Africa.

The Maritime Central Alert Post (St Helena Radio) was required to receive and acknowledge a distress message, relay the message, and based on the information received, deploy Search and Rescue resources to the area.

It was an opportunity for all involved to practice skills that have been developed over many months and to work with agencies they wouldn’t normally work with on a daily basis.

Sea Rescue Manager, Simon Wade, said: “It was a very realistic scenario, given our regular visits from passing yachts. The Sea Rescue team found the exercise very useful as they were able to combine skills they have been taught over the last year, working through the different issues that arose during the exercise and working as a unit to achieve a common goal.”

Chief of Police, David Price, said: “Exercises of this sort are vital in maintaining St Helena’s preparedness to respond to incidents at sea. It was really pleasing to see how all those involved worked together to successfully resolve the incident. I would also like to thank our colleagues in the MRCC in South Africa for their support to this exercise.”