The coast guard keeps an eye on the sea

Coast guard

187 incidents for the Maritim Rescue- and Coordination Centre in 2008

In 2008 the Ostend – based Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) handled 187 incidents. 20 persons were rescued and up to 40 people had to be evacuated, mostly because of medical reasons. In comparison with 2007, when 205 incidents were reported, the number of incidents off the Belgian Coast has decreased.

MRCC Ostend

The MRCC in Ostend intervenes in case of incidents at sea, including collisions, oil spills or drowning persons. The centre also fulfils the role of coordinator for the North Sea Contingency Plan.

In 2008, over 70 incidents involved vessels and boats with engine trouble. In most such cases, a ship was called to the scene to offer assistance or to take the boat under tow. Six fishing vessels or dredging vessels reported having ammunition in their nets or suction pump. Five vessels broke adrift, two were involved in collisions and one ship reported the loss of several containers.

In cooperation with the Seaking helicopter of the Air Force, the MRCC helped to evacuate 19 crew members who were sick or wounded. They were taken to hospital for further specialised medical assistance. Seven rescue operations involved sailing catamarans, eight distress calls involved dinghies in trouble, eleven times help was sent out to sailors in need and another eleven times the MRCC had to help swimmers who were too far out in the sea or who got into trouble at an unguarded location. During one operation in April, 5 swimmers had to be picked up at the same time.

May 9th, all emergency services received a distress call concerning a swimmer in need, but this turned out to be a hoax. July 20th, a genuine distress call involved a pleasure yacht making water. The Seaking helicopter was able to disembark the 4 persons aboard before the yacht sank. A major rescue operation took place on June 25th. Whilst a storm was raging, the MRCC and the Seaking helicopter evacuated a crew of sixteen off the vessel “Thornton 1” whose anchors broke off the Thorntonbank.

Eva Descamps
Maritiem Plein 3
8400 Oostende