Thursday, April 4, 2013

■ BOTSWANA: Namibia, Botswana sign agreement on coordinated Search & Rescue operations.

Botswana and Namibia have signed agreement letters on civil aviation Search And Rescue (SAR) that will coordinate services in the country to meet domestic needs and international standards. The agreement will also ensure support during accidents as well as an overall plan for the coordination of civil search and rescue operations in the event of an air disaster.

Namibia & Botswana
Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Nonofo Molefhi and Minister of Works and Transport in
Namibia, Mr Erkki Nghimtina signed letters of agreement last week.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Molefhi said the agreement would ensure support during accidents as well as an overall plan for coordination of civil search and rescue operations for effective use of resources. He added that the intention was to integrate available civil search and rescue resources into a cooperative network for greater protection of life and property.

As a result, he said the agreement required any state party aware of distress in the space crafts or aircrafts to notify the country of origin. That, he said, was essential because it provided all possible assistance to rescue the aircraft personnel which would have landed within that state’s territory, either because of an accident, distress, emergency or unintended landing.

The minister also explained that any state party would be able to assist in the search and rescue operations where distress occurred beyond their territory.
Essentially by signing these letters of agreement, Botswana and Namibia commits themselves to the provision of assistance to each other in the event that an aircraft from any of our countries requires any type of assistance,” he said.
Minister Molefhi also assured Minister Nghimtina of Botswana’s commitment to cooperating with Namibia, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 12 of the Chicago Convention, which Botswana ratified in 1978.

Thus, he said the two countries should remain united in ensuring aviation safety and security between Botswana and Namibia as well as Southern Africa Development Community (SADC); something he said would put aviation industry on global competitive edge within the globe.

Minister Nghimtina expressed need for the two countries to establish centres and sub-centres to coordinate all the research and rescue operations for easier communication with each other.

Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) air navigation services manager, Mr Silas Silas explained that Botswana and Namibia as ICAO contracting states, were thus required to coordinate their search and rescue organisations as well as develop common SAR procedures to facilitate SAR operations.