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Event Report: Search and Rescue Challenges in the Pacific

C3S Report No: 0011/2017

The following is an event report of a lecture-discussion held on July 22nd 2017.

On the 22nd of July 2017, Chennai Centre for China Studies (C3S) and National Maritime Foundation (NMF)- Chennai Chapter, jointly organized a lecture-discussion on the topic of “Search and Rescue Challenges in the Pacific.” A Chinese delegation from the Ministry of Transport in Shanghai, Division of Rescue Operations of the Donghai Rescue Bureau was invited.

Attendees of the event were able to discuss and interact with the delegation prior to their presentation, this provided us with an opportunity to get their insights on various topics in an informal manner.

Following this, after being introduced by Commodore Vasan, Messrs. Xiao Yuehua (Director General) and Lin Daqin (Deputy Director) led the event by providing the attendees with a detailed explanation of the daily operations of the Division of Rescue Operation. The logistics of a rescue and salvage mission, the capabilities of the ships and units working as well as the historical cases worked on were explained to us. We additionally came to know of the other units of the Rescue Bureau located across the East Coast of the PRC and the seas for which they are responsible.

The attendees were then able to view a video in Chinese (translated by a Chinese interpreter to the audience) which highlighted the risks and dangers involved in a search and rescue operation. The interpreter further elaborated how the bureau had collaborated with the Australian and Malaysian governments to work on monumental cases such as the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Following this presentation Commodore Vasan also commented on the operations that take place within Indian search and rescue operations. He mentioned the similarities that existed between the Indian and Chinese operations, touching upon how the preservation of lives was of utmost priority in all rescue missions across the world.

Major Murali Bhaskaran RMAF (Retd.) was also present along with the Chinese Delegation. Having served in the Royal Malaysian Air Force for over 20 years, he is now the founder and director of Global SAR Resources in Kuala Lumpur, to consult on search and rescue operations. Major Bhaskaran provided us with a brief yet insightful rundown of the new-age technology that is being utilized for contemporary rescue operations. The insight was valuable when received in conjunction with the presentation from the Donghai Rescue Bureau. A holistic exploration of rescue operations in East and South-East Asia was provided to the audience.

The Chinese delegation presented C3S with a token of appreciation in the form of a miniature replica of a ship used for search and rescue operations which was warmly received. The event was valuable in providing us with a detailed insight into the functioning of the Donghai Rescue Bureau and those that work within the throes of search, rescue and salvage missions.

C3S Members presented the Chinese delegation with mementos, while recognizing the speakers’ efforts to sensitize the audience on the theme of the event.

[Compiled by Mr. Maazin Buhari, Intern, C3S. Mr. Buhari is pursuing MA (Hons) Politics and Economic and Social History , University of Edinburgh, Scotland.]

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