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Vessels in Distress

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's policy is on responding to vessels in international waters requesting assistance from UK coastguards. (111772)

In accordance with the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR), 1979, the UK has declared a maritime SAR region which—in broad terms—covers half the North and Irish seas, half the English channel, and much of the north eastern Atlantic. This includes large areas of international waters. The UK has specific bilateral agreements with neighbouring states about mutual support in SAR incidents. HM Coastguard co-ordinates the response to civil maritime emergencies within this region and will also support any SAR incident internationally if requested.