The IMRF is the international non-governmental organisation which works to develop and improve maritime search and rescue (SAR) capability around the world, preventing loss of life in the world's waters. IMO defines mass rescue operations as being beyond normal search and rescue (SAR) capability and therefore of vital interest to anyone with a role in SAR planning and response.

As informed, part of the funding will provide essential support for the IMRF online resource library which brings together as much mass rescue operations (MRO) guidance material as possible. The online library is free to use and available to SAR professionals around the world. The funding will update the information available, enabling SAR services to better plan and prepare for MRO situations.

The remaining funding will support two scholarships for the IMRF MRO Subject-Matter Expert course which will be held in September 2018. Being the only course of its kind, launched last year, it offers a detailed study of MRO issues, giving the attendees the skills to assess their own organisation's capability to respond to MRO events and includes follow-up support from the IMRF as needed.

The second Subject-Matter Expert MRO course will be held at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden, from 4-6 September 2018. The two scholarships will include course fees, travel and accommodation expenses, enabling two individuals to attend who would not otherwise be able to afford to attend.

Theresa Crossley, CEO of the IMRF said:

Thankfully such incidents are rare, at least in the developed world, but they are extremely challenging when they do happen. That is why it's so very important to plan and train and build relationships with the right people before a response is needed. It's not 'if', but 'when'; put simply, the better prepared the responders are, the more lives they will save.