Cruise ships are getting huge. The crowd you see above are all getting into one lifeboat. Its a test of a new double decker lifeboat with a capacity of 440 passengers. When the MS Princendam sank in 1980, there were only 350 passengers and 200 crew. That was a huge rescue effort. Next one might be ten times as large.
MarineLink has the story on the lifeboat.
This is a sad anniversary for our sister organization, the volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI). The Plymouth Herald reports how their sacrifice is still remembered.
The Canadian American Defense Review gives us a glimpse into how Canada is handling their SAR responsibilities, and its not all as smooth as we might have expected from our normally extremely competent and civilized friends to the North. There, as well as here, great credit goes to the volunteers and their supporters.
Britain is in the process of contracting out their Search and Rescue helicopter operations with an award expected in early 2013.
The Service is currently provided by Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Sea Kings (H-3s) that are being retired.
gCaptain is reporting the Coast guard has completed its 25,000 rescue mission using “Rescue 21.”
The article also talks about the new Sector San Francisco hosted Interagency Operations Center (IOC) on Yerba Buena Island, in San Francisco Bay.
More info here.
Interagency Operations Centers are another way the Coast Guard is making itself indispensable. The question remains, who provides this sort of facility inland?
(Thanks to Ryan for the heads up.)
On January 18th the Navy celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Naval Aviation. On the Commander, Naval Air Forces, official web site, among all the pictures of sleek and powerful jets, there is a photo of a crude machine that is nevertheless immediately recognizable as a helicopter sitting on two bulbous pontoons. This was the Sikorsky HNS-1, it’s pilot was a pioneering Coast Guard aviator named Frank Erickson. He and the HNS-1 made the first helo rescue in history, Jan. 3, 1944. Flying the strange bird through a true “howling gale,” then LCdr., later Captain Erickson, delivered two cases of urgently needed plasma after a series of explosions on the destroyer USS Turner (DD-648) resulted in her capsizing and sinking while anchored off Ambrose Light, taking 138 crewman, about half the crew, with her. The plasma was credited with saving many of the survivors.
Erickson went on to invent many of the devices and techniques we now take for granted.
To all the Coast Guard aviators, thanks for what you do.
This report in the Canadian press suggests that a SAR treaty, negotiated by the Arctic Council members in December, could be signed when the foreign ministers next meet, beginning May 12th, in Nuuk, Greenland. It also gives a glimpse into the challenges the Canadians are facing in getting forces in the area.
Members of the Arctic Council include Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the US.
It will be interesting to see where they draw the sector lines since there is still some disagreement between the parties as to where the national boundaries lie.