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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  09 Jun 2009

MARITIME: Search Specialists In Cape Town


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Specialists and delegates of COSPAS-SARSAT, (the Space System for the Search of Vessels in Distress and the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking) will converge in Cape Town for the 23rd special meeting.

The meeting, taking place at the Cape Town International Conference Centre from 15-23 June 2009 is chaired by the Department of Transport, South Africa and will be attended by over 250 designated search and rescue specialists, invited international and local delegates.

The Cospas-Sarsat satellite system was initially developed under a Memorandum of Understanding among Agencies of the former USSR, USA, Canada and France, signed in 1979.  Following the successful completion of the demonstration and evaluation phase that started in September 1982, a second Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 5 October 1984.

The satellite system provides distress alert and location information to search and rescue services throughout the world for maritime, aviation and land users in distress and comprises:
*       satellites in low-altitude Earth orbit and geostationary orbit, capable of processing and relaying signals transmitted by distress beacons;
*       ground receiving stations called Local User Terminals, capable of processing the satellite signals to locate the beacon; and
*       Mission Control Centres set up in most countries operating at least one Local User Terminal which collects, stores and sorts the data from Local User Terminals and other Mission Control Centres.

Search and rescue initiatives, particularly in the African Continent will come under the spotlight during the meeting.  Prior to South Africa*s installation of the Local User Terminal (LUT) and the establishment of a Mission Co-ordination Centre (MCC) in Cape Town in 1999, there was a huge void in the Cospas-Sarsat coverage of the African continent particularly in the Southern Africa region.

The meeting will also address the efficiency and effectiveness of Search and Rescue and developing comprehensive work programmes for the implementation thereof in the region. This Session will serve as a platform for cooperation, bringing together States at decision making and technical levels.

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