Amendments to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual

20 January 2022 |  C22004

The Marine Safety Committee (MSC), at its 103rd session, approved amendments in accordance with the procedures for amending and updating the IAMSAR Manual Volume I, II, and III, which will be applicable with effect from 01st of June 2022.

Ship Owners/ Managers/ Operators | Surveyors/Auditors

The Maritime Safety Committee, at its 103rd session, approved the annexed Amendments in accordance with the procedures for amending and updating the IAMSAR Manual set out in resolution A.894(21) through MSC.1/Circ.1640.


A new paragraph 6.4.11 has been included referred to improving devices.

SAR stakeholders should implement a range of measures based on safety management principles. Each SAR stakeholder should ensure their internal management systems include the following components commensurate with their level of risk exposure and provide an annual statement to this effect to the National SAR Committee. A de-identified approach may be considered, to optimize reporting rates and the effectiveness of the approach. Measures which SAR stakeholders should consider include:

  • Service level agreements (SLAs) with the relevant SAR coordinators based on an agreed template setting out respective roles and responsibilities, services provided, availability, KPIs/SPIs and oversight arrangements;
  • Mechanisms for post incident and safety investigation lessons learned and management reviews;
  • The provision of data for safety performance indicators, including post-accident/near miss lessons learned, and health and safety reviews;
  • A register of SAR systems and operational risks, and the corrective or preventative actions that prevent or minimize risks and the possibility of sub-standard SAR performance;
  • Internal quality assurance mechanisms including regular internal audits of facilities and procedures; and
  • Certainty that the Organization complies with the requirements of relevant national legislations, i.e. Safety at Work, Maritime and Aviation legislation, etc.



Paragraphs 1.3.10 to 1.3.14 referred to the search and rescue system and specifically to aeronautical systems that have been replaced with the following, including 4 additional paragraphs:

  1. The Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) was established to mitigate challenges in the global air navigation system, regarding the timely identification and localization of aircraft in distress. GADSS provides an effective and globally consistent approach to enhancing the alerting procedures of search and rescue services by addressing a number of key improvement areas;
  2. GADSS has three main elements:
  • aircraft tracking (typically between the ATS unit and the aircraft operator);
  • location of an aircraft in distress (achieved through autonomous distress tracking (ADT) of aircraft in flight); and
  • post-flight localization and recovery.
  1. GADSS ensures an up-to-date record of aircraft progress is maintained and, in case of a crash, forced landing or ditching, ensures information on the location of survivors, the aircraft and recoverable flight data is available. For GADSS to function as intended, flight crew and aircraft operators, air traffic controllers and air navigation services providers, ADT service providers, and rescue coordination centres (RCCs) need to understand each other’s roles, responsibilities, and processes to ensure effective communication, robust coordination, and harmonized implementation across the globe;
  2. For aircraft tracking in GADSS, the aircraft operator is required to establish an aircraft tracking capability throughout its area of operations. Such tracking is required in oceanic areas (airspace which overlies waters outside of the territory and territorial sea of a State) and recommended in all areas of operations. Tracking is accomplished through automated four-dimensional (latitude, longitude, altitude, and time) position reports transmitted at an interval of 15 minutes or less, unless ATS surveillance obtains aircraft position information at 15-minute intervals or less;
  3. The aircraft tracking element enhances the ability of RCCs to obtain information on an aircraft in an emergency but also to provide information on other aircraft in the area that may be able to assist, for example, to divert to a distress location, relay communications, etc. However, aircraft tracking responsibilities and actions are typically performed between the ATS unit and the aircraft operator.



Pages 8-12 and 8-13, subsection “Maritime Safety Information” have been amended to include Maritime Safety and SAR- Related information.

Act now

Ship Owners/ Managers/ Operators should take into consideration the above amendments in the IAMSAR manual and ensure its replacement on board their vessels prior June 01st, 2022.

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