The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have recently issued Marine Notice #19 of 2013 – Alerting of Emergency Response Authorities. This included the following guidance:
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport wishes to bring to the attention of all Shipowners, Fishing Vessel Owners, Shipmasters, Skippers, Fishermen, Yachtsmen and Seafarers a recent report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, MCIB, into the sinking of the “MFV Tit Bonhomme”. The full report may be obtained from the website of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, at www.mcib.ie.
The report made a number of safety recommendations, one of which is that attention should be drawn to the necessity for Skippers encountering situations where the safety of the vessel and its crew are potentially put at risk to alert the appropriate shore authorities advising them of the situation and what assistance the vessel may require.
In Ireland the competent national authority in this regard is the Irish Coast Guard. Alerting the Coast Guard should be done via one of its three Coordination Centres at Dublin, Malin Head or Valentia Island on marine VHF Channel 16 or working channels or Medium Frequency (MF). Alternatively, if no other option is available, dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard should be notified in the first instance before contacting any local emergency response organisations.
Early alerting of Search and Rescue authorities
Masters and Skippers should not delay in notifying the Irish Coast Guard if a problem is, or may be, developing which could involve the need for assistance. This allows the Coast Guard to carry out preliminary and contingency planning that could make the critical difference if the situation worsens.
The full text of the Marine Notice is available from the Department’s website.