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International search and rescue conventions

We follow the guidance of international conventions when conducting search and rescue (SAR) activities.

The following three international conventions set the obligations and guidance for providing a SAR service for international shipping and aircraft:

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) sponsor global SAR plans, allocating SAR regions to nations.

SAR regions were developed by the ICAO and IMO in consultation with member nations, and often reflect existing flight regions and proximity to countries.

A SAR authority is responsible for the coordination of SAR during a maritime or aviation distress situation in their allocated SAR region. 

Australia is responsible for setting its national policies and procedures in line with these international conventions to ensure we can provide an effective SAR service to anyone in distress, no matter where they are in the Australian SAR region.

If you have a question, contact us.

Related information

Last updated: 22 April 2021