Better search and rescue in the north

Better search and rescue in the north

November 27, 2015
Head of Communication

The increased activity in the Arctic demands better search and rescue capacity for the people located in the area. Norut has investigated the current status and proposed a series of improvements.

Norut has attached particular emphasis on the technology used in searches, both existing technologies currently in use and new technologies that can improve both emergency preparedness and rescue operations. This work is included in the "Search and Rescue in the High North" (SARiNOR) project commissioned by Maritimt Forum Nord in Norway.

Proposed measures

The work is summarized in the report “SARiNOR WP3 SEARCH”. The report points to measures to prevent the occurrence of accidents and to reduce the consequences in the event of emergencies.

Here are some of the proposals:

  • More visible immersion suits
  • The installation of positioning equipment on Sea King
  • Man overboard alarm for all commercial fishermen
  • Better night vision goggles for Norwegian SAR pilots
  • Weather radar on Svalbard and better fog/visibility forecasts for the Barents Sea
  • Better forecasting of currents and waves
  • Increased capacity of satellite communications
  • Satellite data as an aid in SAR operations

Range and emergency preparedness

The report also presents several proposals to increase the range and emergency preparedness:

  • Increased SAR emergency preparedness for P-3 Orion, as well as upgrade in terms of search
  • Better landing field and increased fuel storage facilities on Bjørnøya
  • Assess the use of unmanned aircraft in SAR operations
  • Emergency preparedness vessel in the Barents Sea

Increased cooperation between the various groups participating in search and rescue operations will also enhance the safety at sea. Among other measures, the report proposes increased coordination between the Coast Guard and the Governor of Svalbard, and increased cooperation and training between the P-3 Orion stationed on Andøya and the other participants in search and rescue efforts.

The project was managed by Norut, via Senior Research Scientist Agnar Sivertsen, in collaboration with operation with Lufttransport and UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Click here to read the full report: “SARiNOR WP3 SEARCH” (International cooperation in English language)

Enhanced cooperation

The SARiNOR project consists of seven parts, and Norut is also involved in work package "Joint situational awareness" in collaboration with Sintef ICT and Christian Michelsen Research. The aim of this work is to improve the situational awareness of those participating in SAR operations. The analysis will also lead to proposals of measures to increase the efficiency of SAR operations.

This work will be completed in the spring of 2016. Norut’s participants in this work are Research Scientist Yngve Antonsen and Senior Research Scientist May-Britt Ellingsen.

Read more on the website of SARiNOR (Norwegian language only)