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Legal Lifesaving Obligation at sea -handling a rescue operation

If the vessel is aware of a possible distress of a ship or aircraft, the Master is bound to proceed to the assistance of the persons in distress, unless following cases. (in each case, the circumstances have to be mentioned in Deck Log Book):

• He has been positively informed by the Master of another ship which has reached the scene of distress that no further assistance is required; or

• Centre that his ship has not been requisitioned and that one or more other ships have been requisitioned and are complying.

• The vessel is unable or, due to special circumstances of the case, considers it unreasonable or unnecessary to proceed to rescue. If practicable, he shall inform the appropriate Rescue Coordination Centre about this.


Note: The above legal obligation to rescue is applicable to Human lives only.
Salvage of a ship or cargo is carried out according to a separate salvage agreement (Refer to article 3 of these Procedures).




Handling after Lifesaving Rescue

(1) The Master shall pay attention to the health of the rescued persons, and provide them with proper care (food, clothing , basic comforts).

(2) The Master shall contact the nearest coastal station to discuss the landing of the rescued persons, and keep close contact with the Company to receive necessary instructions.

(3) The Master shall prepare a lifesaving report, and obtain a certification by a Government authority later. The report shall include the following items as far as possible :

• The nationality, name, and gross tonnage of the rescued ship.

• The owner and address of the rescued ship.

• The name and address of the Master of the rescued ship.

• The name, age, nationality, and sex of the saved person(s).

• The last port and next port of the rescued ship.

• The date, time and place of the beginning and completion of the rescue operation.

• The method of the rescue and the prevailing weather conditions.

• Other items for reference.


Rescue of Refugees

(1) The Master is obliged to provide assistance to Refugees at sea regardless of the nationality or status of such persons or the circumstances in which they are found. The following matters shall be reported to the Company as soon as possible:

• The date, time and exact position of the rescue;

• The number of rescued people and their details (sex, name, age, and nationality);

• Destination (the country where the rescued people desire to be landed);

• Health condition of the rescued people;

• Other matters for reference.

(2) The Master shall keep close contact with the Company and receive necessary instructions. (The Company shall contact the P&I Club, UNHCR, flag state and port authorities to facilitate disembarkation).

(3) Expenses incurred for the entire rescue operation can be recovered from the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Hence, all necessary documentation for expenses should be maintained for this purpose.




Report on Rescue of Life

The Master shall send the “Report on Rescue of Life”



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