6. Governments and rescue co-ordination centres: Non-SAR considerations

6.19 If survivor status or other non-SAR matters need to be resolved, the appropriate authorities can often handle these matters once the survivors have been delivered to a place of safety. Until then, RCCs are responsible for co-operation with any national or international authorities or others involved in the situation. Examples of non-SAR considerations that may require attention include oil spills, onscene investigations, salvage, survivors who are migrants or asylum seekers, needs of survivors once they have been delivered to a place of safety, or security or law enforcement concerns. National authorities other than the RCC typically have primary responsibility for such efforts.

6.20 Any operations and procedures such as screening and status assessment of rescued persons that go beyond rendering assistance to persons in distress should not be allowed to hinder the provision of such assistance or unduly delay disembarkation of survivors from the assisting ship(s).

6.21 Although issues other than rescue relating to asylum seekers, refugees and migratory status are beyond the remit of IMO, and beyond the scope of the SOLAS and SAR Conventions, Governments should be aware of assistance that international organizations or authorities of other countries might be able to provide in such cases, be able to contact them rapidly, and provide any instructions that their RCCs may need in this regard, including how to alert and involve appropriate national authorities. States should ensure that their response mechanisms are sufficiently broad to account for the full range of State responsibilities.

6.22 Authorities responsible for such matters may request that RCCs obtain from the assisting ship certain information about a ship or other vessel in distress, or certain information about the persons assisted. Relevant national authorities should also be made aware of what they need to do to co- operate with the RCC (especially with regard to contacting ships), and to respond as a matter of urgency to situations involving assisted persons aboard ships.

Source: MSC.167(78)