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International Maritime Rescue Federation members gather in Rotterdam

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) held its four-yearly World Maritime Rescue Conference in Rotterdam from 18 to 21 June 2023.

WMRC is the world’s largest gathering of SAR organisations and is the main event at which industry and SAR professionals around the world can collaborate and share best practices.

The event, which takes place every four years and attracts hundreds of SAR personnel and equipment, included a live exercise, Congress sessions and workshops, while the IMRF’s Quadrennial General Meeting was also held.

The event began on Sunday 18 June with two rescue demonstrations, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, with a parade of lifeboats in between.

Central to the demonstrations was the 2007-built tug Multraship Protector, which is one of several similar vessels used for safety operations along the coast of the Netherlands. The tug acted as the distressed vessel from which the various lifeboats took off the ‘casualties’.

Among the lifeboats present were two rescue cruisers from the DGzRS in Germany, Hermann Marwede and Felix Sand, and the Swedish search and rescue vessel Casque, the participant which had travelled the furthest.

The RNLI was represented by the Relief lifeboat Storm Rider (13-04), which came over from Dover, while the Belgian rescue services sent the 2014-built rescue vessel Orinoco R7.

There were numerous lifeboats from the Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij (KNRM), hosts of the event, including the new 11.5m  lifeboat Riet and Jan van Wijk as well as the Damen-built Nh 1816 lifeboat from IJmuiden. Operational lifeboats from the Hook of Holland and Noordwijk were also present for the rescue demonstrations.

Among the historic craft in attendance were the Noordwijk-based museum lifeboat Kurt Carlsen, the 1968-built Johanna Louisa, the 1967-built Javazee and the historic Jhr J. W. H. Rutgers van Rozenburg, the country’s first motor lifeboat, dating from 1907, all of which are maintained in their original condition.

The IMRF’s Quadrennial General Meeting was held the Grand Ballroom on the famous liner Rotterdam, following the World Maritime Rescue Congress 2023, and among the subjects under discussion were developments in maritime mass rescue techniques.

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