Homeland Security: Air and Sea SAR Operations Regulated in Turkey

With the Presidential Decree numbered 3095, Regulation on Search and Rescue Operations in Seacraft and Aircraft Accidents (“Regulation”) setting the principles of SAR operations to be carried out as a result of accidents occurred in seacrafts and aircrafts published on the Official Gazette on October 17, 2020.. It covers the execution of SAR operations within the borders of Turkish SAR zone whilst exempting the states of war, disaster, insurgency, and salvage.

The Regulation addresses the principles on medical advice, medical evacuation and medical first aid operations to be carried out in line with the international agreements while determining the duties of relevant public/private authorities and NGOs in this regard.

SAR operations stemming from seacrafts and aircrafts are to be carried out by SAR Coordination Centers (“AKKM”) wit coordination of the Main SAR Coordination Center operated by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Directorate General for Maritime Affairs (“AAKKM”) and public authorities, private sector institutions and authorized NGOs shall provide technical and physical assistance to AKKM for execution of SAR operations.

Additionally, private sector institutions carrying out pilotage, tugboat, and harbor operation services are responsible to:

- Provide necessary response regarding SAR operations within the service area they are authorized, in accordance with the instructions of AAKKM,

- Participate SAR operations of a seacraft allocated anchored or under sail in the harbor area, providing that not risking life safety,

- Ensure that the fire is extinguished or sea/air crafts are relocated to eliminate the threat as a result of fire, explosion, and similar situations occurred in sea/air crafts outside the borders of harbor area, providing that not risking his life safety.

The Regulation further sets, training, certification, and authorization of relevant staff for NGOs intending to participate maritime SAR operations, to be carried out by Maritime SAR Coordination Center operated by the Turkish Coast Guard Command (“DZAKKM”). DZAKKM, when necessary, may employ the authorized NGOs’ staff to utilize their capability in maritime SAR operations.

Additively, it sets certain obligations to the authorized NGOs including sharing up to date inventory records comprising their capability to be used in SAR operations with AAKKM and relevant AKKM, only participating operations with the authorized staff and drafting reports regarding participated SAR operations to be submitted to AAKKM and relevant AKKM.

The regulation also repeals and replace with the Communique on National Search and Rescue Plan numbered 2002/4 dated July 11, 2002 (“Communique”) which was setting the principles of national SAR plan including all SAR operations to be carried out as a result of accidents or danger occurred in seacrafts and aircrafts within Turkish territorial seas, inland waters, land and air borders and international zones.

Şafak Herdem, Ezgi Ceren Aydoğmuş

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