According to a press release from the Government of the [British] Virgin Islands on October 28, 2021, an RCC is a facility that acts as the national central point for executing and managing a nation’s maritime safety and communication obligations.
These obligations, according to the press release, are outlined in the “International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea” (SOLAS), which states that contracting Governments should ensure that arrangements are made for distress communication and co-ordination in their area of responsibility and for the rescue of persons in distress at sea around its coasts.
Noting that SOLAS was extended to the Virgin Islands on June 10, 2004, the Director of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, Mr John M. Samuel, said, “As a party to the convention, the Virgin Islands should implement laws and policies which enforce their obligations as agreed under the convention.”
He added, “The Virgin Islands boast the title “Sailing Capital of the World”, and it’s our duty to keep our waters safe for all users. SOLAS requires that we protect the lives at sea. With its sophisticated communication networks and state of the art software capabilities, an RCC will improve the communication range of our safety systems and this, along with other VISR operational improvements, will improve our ability as a Territory to respond to both short and long-range emergencies within the maritime areas of Virgin Islands responsibility.”
According to the press release, the proposed RCC in the VI will be housing various modes of vessel communication, including Very High Frequency (VHF), Medium and High Frequency (MF/HF) radios and Satellite communication (SAT-C). The distress alerts from vessels will be processed by advanced software systems, which will improve search and rescue response and success. The RCC will also be provided with facilities for transmitting urgent coastal marine safety information to vessels for warning ships of any imminent navigational or meteorological hazard.
Mr Samuel explained that AMP Global Strategies are leaders in providing world-class communication systems, infrastructure, equipment, cybersecurity, and consulting services to Governments and the private sector.
He elaborated by saying, “AMP have been engaged to assist us in transforming our requirements into quantifiable and measurable technical specifications that can be communicated through a tender process to prospective bidders. AMP Global Strategies will be instrumental in formulating the final technical specification for the global tender of the RCC buildout and assist the Government in evaluating the tenders prior to award.”
In the coming months, VISR and AMP will be working alongside the Ministry of Finance’s Procurement Unit throughout the bidding process for the building of the RCC, which will be open to both local and international tenders.
The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR), according to the press release, maintains high standards of marine safety, and is continuously working towards a safer and more secure environment for maritime related industries in the Virgin Islands.
Rescuing at sea is currently mainly coordinated and executed by Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR).