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Search and Rescue Coordination Training held in Vava’u

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25th May, 2018 A Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Training Program (Monday 14th May – Wednesday 16th May), was conducted in Vava’u with the aim to incorporate different agencies and resources in coordination of a SAR incident in the seas off Vava’u.

Delivering the training were two experts from RCC (Rescue Coordination Centre) New Zealand, Mr David Wilson and Ms Christie Wilson. They visited Tonga first in November 2016 and met with relevant people to identify and scope out training that will enhance SAR response and boating safety.

In September last year the first Search and Rescue Coordination Training was held in Tongatapu aimed at enhancing increased understanding and coordination between the Agencies involved in Maritime Search and Rescue in Tonga.

Police Search and Rescue National Commander A/Deputy Commissioner ‘Atunaisa Taumoepeau says, “This is vital for the Tonga Police knowing who is available in the community that can assist in any way during the time of a rescue or search at sea.”

He also emphasised three points with Marine SAR; 1. Public Education and Awareness to stop people making bad decisions with bad boats and equipment. 2. To maintain the capability to respond quickly and professionally in a coordinated manner. 3. To bring home the lost seafarers to their families but make sure that the rescuers also get home to their families by making good operational decisions.

Since the launch of Police Rescue Boats donated by New Zealand and Australian Governments (Tonga Police Development Program), in December 2015 and ably supported by HMAF Navy, 100 lives have been saved from 37 Marine SAR Operations.

Attending the Training were members from Tonga Police as the leading agency, RCCNZ, Marine and Ports, Tonga Custom and the VERA (Vava’u, Emergency Response Association).

This Training is funded under the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


For further inquiries please contact: Tonga Police Media & Communication Officer, Tonga Police Headquarters, Longolongo; – Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it phone (676) 23 323 EXT. 125


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