By Yunus Yusuf
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has urged all aircraft and ship owners to apply full safety measures in their operations.
The agency made the appeal at a one-day awareness and sensitisation workshop aimed at reiterating the importance of continuous safety consciousness on Sunday in Lagos.
The Director, Search and Rescue, NEMA, Air Commodore Edwards Adedokun, who declared the workshop open, said critical stakeholders in maritime, aviation, response agencies and regulators in the various sectors were invited to attend the workshop.
Adedokun, who was represented by Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, the Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office of the agency, called on participants to take the opportunity of the workshop to acquire new safety tips.
He said there was need for them to be conscious of safety in their sectors, adding that any wrong step could spell doom for their operations.
The director cited the crash of Quorum Helicopters in Lagos and Kaduna States, where their alert equipment malfunctioned.
He added that if such had happened in a thick forest, tracking location with the malfunctioning beacons would not have been easy.
Adedokun explained that COSPAS and SARSAT were high-tech satellite-based equipment, positioned in the orbit to track distressed alert emitted by the bearing of beacons installed in the aircraft, ships or by individual.
According to him, the equipment are based in NEMA headquarters which covers West and Central African countries, to track distress alerts from any source that needs protection, evacuation and assistance as the case may be.
“This year alone, the Mission Control Centre, situated in Abuja, has recorded 130 resolved distressed alerts which turned out to be false.
“There are three types of alerts, Initial Alert, Resolved Alert and Update alert,” he explained.
Adedokun said, “lnitial alert is when 406 mhz beacon sends distressed alert and is picked up by COSPAS SARSAT, the resolution commences with downloading details of the owners.“
“It also involves contacting the owners to enquire about the situation of the equipment where actual situation is not given.
“Then, coordinate of the location of the aircraft, ship or individual will be established, which will be despatched to all emergency response and regulatory agencies for action.
“While resolved alert indicates that upon its reception, it was established that the owners were just making maintenance checks.“
Adedokun added that the 130 recorded cases were not actual distress alert, but classified as false.
“This is to say that the 130 resolved alerts are false but the initial and update alerts are not counted.
“The coordinates will indicate the scene with 40 square metres for ease of response,” he said.
He, however, appealed to the aircraft operators, both private and commercial as well as ship owners to procure, install and ensure regular maintenance checks on their equipment as required. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Yahaya Isah/Salif Atojoko