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Old 05-09-2010, 20:27   #1
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Activating EPIRB - Chain of Events that Actually Occurs in Indonesian Waters ?

Ahoy shipmates! I have been cruising in Indonesian waters off the North West coast of Sumatra for 4 months now. I carry a ship based epirb and a personal epirb with a gps in it. Both are registered with the Australian rescue authorities. I often look at them and wonder what actually happens if I need to sctivate them?
Would the Indonesian authorities come and rescue me or what?
Does anyone know the definitive chain of events that happens in Indonesian waters?
Cheers from Keith.

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Old 05-09-2010, 20:43   #2
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It depends.
Your location would be broadcast on SSB, normally the closest international commericial vessel would divert to your location. Do the Indonesian's have a Coast Guard or Navy?
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Old 05-09-2010, 20:48   #3
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AFAIK, generally goes like this: EPIRB signal bounces off satellite & activates alarms with US rescue services (since the system uses their satellites). They use your contact info to find out if the signal is legit. Then they pass the information to the relevant rescue services. I believe everything is broken up into various regions of responsibilty ie. Australia covers an area, New Zealand covers another, etc. Then they send someone to rescue you- maybe a helicopter, or a nearby fishing trawler.
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Old 05-09-2010, 20:54   #4
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Thanks guys, yes Indonesia does have a navy and a coast guard, but I have only seen them when they come alongside and "ask" for money for checking up on me or for fuel, one carries a large M16 machine gun! No helicopters in NW Sumatra. so it seems that it is up to private operators in the local waters who hear the message to respond if they want to?
Keith.
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Old 05-09-2010, 20:58   #5
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With luck a US Navy Carrier or Amphibious task group would be in the vicinity, receive the report, and look for you.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:07   #6
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just like 1944 then I guess..
Keith - I'd act like and Aussie and ask AMSA.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:10   #7
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Brunei Bay Radio - Emergency contacts - Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centres
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:11   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zednotzee View Post
... they pass the information to the relevant rescue services. I believe everything is broken up into various regions of responsibilty ie. Australia covers an area, New Zealand covers another, etc...
International waters are divided into various regions of National responsibility, according to the SOLAS convention.

Global Maritime Search and Rescue Areas

http://www.oceansatlas.com/unatlas/i...sar/SARMAP.PDF

Neptune: global Maritime*Search and Rescue Areas
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:23   #9
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Originally Posted by surfmachine View Post
. I often look at them and wonder what actually happens if I need to sctivate them?
Would the Indonesian authorities come and rescue me or what?
Does anyone know the definitive chain of events that happens in Indonesian waters?

Good question. We had a friend who tested this two years ago - activated an epirb ago in Indonesian waters and the results were 'disappointing'.

The chain of events is this: the signal goes to the SAR center in the country the epirb is registered in (the USA in this case), they locate the signal and contact the rescue coordination center (RCC) which is designated to cover the bit ocean where the signal is coming from (in this case the Indonesian RCC). The RCC is then suppose to coordinate the rescue. In this case they did nothing. They did not even notify the port captains near to the signal of the emergency. Our friend was sinking, had water in the cabin over his waist, but by himself managed to slow the leak enough to stay floating long enough to get into the nearest harbor.

One other thing he learned was that the local fishing boats (he could see lights) did not have vhf, and instead listened to CB (because they are cheaper than marine vhf).

In the end the Indonesia's said they did not go rescue their own fishing boats when they got into trouble and so did not see any reason to rescue a rich foreigner on a pleasure boat. They only thought their mission was for large commercial ships and ferries.

It would be much better if you got into trouble in NZ or Aus waters
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:42   #10
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I should add that Beth just last week interviewed the USCG (5 of them on a conference call) on how (and how well) international SAR was working.

They specifically said that the Indonesian SAR leadership had changed recently and that they though/hoped the situation there was now improved. But they also said that #1 if you are more than 300 miles from shore (anywhere) you should not count on getting rescue at all and certaintly not anticipate anything in less 36-72hrs (depending on shipping density), and #2 nearer shore in a lot of the "3rd world" you should again not count on getting rescued. There are just not that many SAR assets once you get outside of the 1st world coverage areas.

The most interesting comment for me was that if you get into trouble, set off your eprib, and then get out of trouble - DON'T turn off the eprib. They will keep looking for you even if the epirb goes off (Assuming the battery has died but you are still in trouble) but it will be much more difficult. Only turn off the Epirb when you have positive contact directly with the USCG and tell them you are ok. I would have done this wrong.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:52   #11
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One might ask BADAN SAR NASIONAL about their capabilities & policies.

THE NATIONAL SAR AGENCY OF INDONESIA
BADAN SAR NASIONAL
http://www.icao.int/icao/en/ro/apac/..._SG15/ip19.pdf

Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur No. 5, Jakarta Pusat 10110
Telephone : +62-21-34832901
Facsimile : +62-21-34832884
Emergency : +62-21-3521111
E-mail : basarnas@indo.net.id
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:10   #12
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Sometimes official rescue efforts are not enough.
I know of an individual whose boat sank on the trip from Trinidad to Granada. He was able to contact a tug who was towing a barge and didn't want to divert or stop, so the tug radioed his position to the Granada Coast Guard. My friend sat in his little washtub of a dinghy and watched the SAR take place on the horizan for five hours as he drifted to the west. The Coast Guard returned to base without finding him, even though he was standing up and waving his shirt.. As he continued to drift and the sun set, he floated past a lone fisherman out checking his fishtraps, who gave him some water and after checking the rest of his traps, took him ashore.
Why Trinidad threw him out of their country and the condition of his home-built boat is for another story.
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Old 06-09-2010, 21:20   #13
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The area of international responsibilities decides who has the primary responsibility, and as noted by the posters, this service can be very good or it can be abysmal, as several posters have stated.

But this does not tell the whole story of international SAR efforts. Some countries, such as the US, take a larger, more proactive role for their flagged vessels and for US citizens. They will of course first seek assistance from the designated country for the location of the distress, a time consuming process! But in the abscence of any reasonable action, the US generally will take action on its own by notifying vessels and diverting assests if the situation warrants it.

The problem for even the best and most diligent SAR centers is therfore two fold, they first have to know what type of problem is at hand to determine the necessary response, and second, they need to know the nationality of the folks/vessel in distress. Regretabllly even a functioning epirb does not really fully identify these issues.

Obviously there is a lot of wriggle room for the decision makers, SAR efforts are expensive and time consuming so decisions are often not made as quickly as one would like, and as I noted there are some political side issues that always seem to be getting in the way!

So, one must not put too much reliance on SAR efforts of any type when making passages, especially when well offshore, indeed in some places, even when just island hopping among the 3,000 islands of Indonesia!

I would be very interested in the specific jobs held by the five USCG folks who were interviewed. Sounds like they had good advice for us cruisers. Part of my prior professional life in the US Navy was spent for two years working at the Joint Rescue Center in Hawaii (USN, USCG,USAF were all represented on a full time basis back then ) and we had the responsibility for coordinating SAR for US vessels and citizens in most of the Pacific, all of the Indian Ocean, the Antarctic. This was in the days before GPS and epirbs were strictly localized line of sight aircraft homing beacons.
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Old 06-09-2010, 21:51   #14
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Thank folks, for all the feedback. Yes, my epirbs are registered with AMSA, phone numbers to call to check and names and numbers of people onboard, vessel type and seafety gear onboard etc.

I am keen to know if the aussies get to know at all about the "activation" or is it dealt with entirely by the Indonesians?

I have spoken to AMSA about this and they were not very informative!
we are mainly within 100 nmiles of sumatra and pretty close to Sibolga, Padang and Bandah aceh. They have an active navy and coast guard.

There is a fair bit of traffic on the vhf, channel 16, as well as the hf in these waters, lots of fishing boats, who are super friendly. No commercial traffic, apart from surf charter yachts.
Cheers from Keith.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:35   #15
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EPIRB Activation

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Good question. We had a friend who tested this two years ago - activated an epirb ago in Indonesian waters and the results were 'disappointing'.
Evans,
Although I'm not suicidal, I'm sort-of old school, in that I assume that whatever troubles I get into out there, myself and crew better be able to fix ourselves, since I'm not expecting "big daddy" or "uncle sam" to come to my rescue.....
So, while I am well equipped for distress messaging (EPIRB, VHF-DSC, MF/HF-DSC, etc.) and would use them when needed, I'm not betting on too much help from the outside....


But, the reason I'm writing this is to ask you a favor / permission....

I have read of others who've had less than "optimal" results from EPIRB Distress Alerts, and I was wondering if I could quote you and "repost" (in its entirety) what you wrote here, over in a thread on the SSCA board.....
Where, some others may appreciate its "wake-up".....


Thanks for posting this, and I am glad your friend made it to shore okay....

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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