A formal Arrangement covering areas for cooperation in the Southern Ocean has been signed by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) and the Korea Coast Guard.
MNZ, through the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), has been working with the Korea Coast Guard to formalise agreement over cooperation on Search and Rescue, oil spill response, and maritime incident response in the region.
A delegation from the Korea Coast Guard is in New Zealand this week. The Arrangement was signed in Wellington today (13 December).and was followed by a visit to RCCNZ in Avalon. On Friday, 14 December in Auckland, they will visit Ports of Auckland, the New Zealand Coastguard’s marine rescue centre and MNZ’s Marine Pollution Response Unit.
MNZ Director and Chief Executive Keith Manch said the idea of an Arrangement was raised by the Korean delegation in May 2011 when New Zealand hosted the first bilateral meeting to discuss Antarctic issues.
“It’s important to understand the challenges of operating in the Southern Ocean with its remoteness and unpredictable conditions. This Arrangement will help boost understanding of how the New Zealand SAR response system works and the support and response resources available,” Mr Manch said.
“Relationship-building with Korea on maritime safety issues is an important step to improving safety in a region where New Zealand has extensive SAR coordination responsibility. Good communication is the foundation of this Arrangement.”
Korean vessels have been involved in two incidents managed by RCCNZ in recent years. The Insung No 1 sank in the Ross Sea in December 2009, with the loss of 21 crew, and in January this year the Jung Woo 2 caught fire in the Ross Sea, killing three people, with 37 rescued.
This year six Korean vessels are expected to enter the Ross Sea toothfish fishery, and the Korean icebreaker Araon will also be in the area, accompanying a supply ship supporting the construction of Korea’s Jang Bogo station, and tourist vessels in the Ross Sea region.