1. SAR services inside the Convention are defined as: “The performance of distress monitoring, communication, co-ordination and search and rescue functions, including provision of medical advice, initial medical assistance, or medical evacuation, through the use of public and private resources including co-operating aircraft, vessels and other crafts and installations”.
2. Civil society-led Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) engaged in SAR operations have published voluntary minimum standards intended to
- ensure that their actions are conducted in support of the fundamental right to life with dignity, the right to receive humanitarian assistance in protection of life and the right to personal protection and security for all persons in distress at sea based on legal requirements of established international maritime law;
- enhance joint co-ordination and co-operation of SAR operations in the Mediterranean region with as many stakeholders as possible, including established Rescue Coordination Centres, European institutions, Agencies, shipping and fishing associations and military forces (for further information see: Voluntary Code of Conduct for Search and Rescue operations undertaken by civil society NGOs in the Mediterranean Sea, First Edition, February 2017).
3. For further information on relevant legal provisions and on practical procedures to ensure the prompt disembarkation of survivors of rescue operations see International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and United Nations High Commissoner for Refugees: Rescue at sea: a guide to principles and practice as applied to migrants and refugees.