Coast Guard, partners conduct mass rescue exercise off Oahu

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) takes part in a search and rescue exercise with international partners off Oahu, Hawaii, July 24, 2019. The exercise was apart of a biennial SAR workshop led by the Pacific Search and Rescue Steering Committee. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West/Released)

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak takes part in a search and rescue exercise with international partners off Oahu, Hawaii, July 24, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West)

HONOLULU — As part of the 8th Pacific Regional Maritime Search and Rescue workshop in Hawaii, the U.S. Coast Guard hosted a joint static display and on-the-water demonstration Wednesday on the westside of Oahu.

Partners simulated a response to a vessel in distress during a mass rescue operation off Waianae. Assets included the observation vessel Dolphin Star, the USCGC Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126), and a Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium as well as crews from the Honolulu Fire Department. Aircraft from the U.S. Navy, France, Australia, and New Zealand also participated.

The workshop will continue Thursday with a review of the MRO, case studies, systems and tools such as the Tsunami warning system and advances in personal locator beacons, and other panels. Friday participants are anticipated to review the team’s goals, outcomes, and action items to carry forward for further growth.

More than 15 different Pacific countries are participating in the workshop. PACSAR 8 is a continuation of the biennial event sponsored in part by the International Maritime Organization, secretariat of the Pacific Community, and Pacific SAR steering committee to build SAR capacity across the Pacific. Every other year, a different country hosts the workshop. Maritime New Zealand hosted the last round, PACSAR 7, in Aukland in May 2017.

The long-term goal of these regular workshops is to further the mission of the steering committee to measurably improve the SAR capability of each of the Pacific Island countries or territories in line with international standards and the PACAR measures of success by 2021. The PACSAR 8 workshop is a place to collaboratively share successes and continue the learning process by assessing strengths, risks, opportunities for partnerships, and to learn from each other.

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