International search and rescue plans are crucial, so that, whenever an accident takes place, the rescue of persons in distress at sea can be coordinated successfully.

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The worldwide ratification and implementation of IMO's International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR Convention) is vital for the efforts to ensure the safety of international shipping.

Costa Rica has now become the 112th State to accede to the treaty, whose signatories now represent more than 80% of world merchant shipping tonnage. H.E. Mr. Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (7 January) to deposit the instrument of accession.