Dr. David Kakuba, CAA’s Deputy Managing director added that an MOU on SAR Coordination is a requirement of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Convention, to which Uganda is signatory.
Kakuba noted that the ICAO convention requires contracting States to arrange for all aircraft, vessels and local services and facilities which do not form part of the SAR organization to cooperate fully with CAA in the search and rescue and to extend any possible assistance to survivors of aircraft accidents.
Since aircraft accidents can occur anywhere, Kakuba said, stakeholders need to coordinate fully in on order to successfully carry out a rescue mission.
He added that the aeronautical SAR normally addresses three major areas which include the Air-sea Rescue which is the search and rescue for survivors of aircrafts over water bodies, the mountain Rescue which includes rescue operations in rugged and mountainous terrain and the Ground Rescue which is the search for survivors or persons in distress on land normally associated with wilderness zones e.g. National parks, forests etc.
Dr. Kakuba revealed that Uganda recently signed a SAR Regional Agreement with EAC Partner states for , especially on Lake Victoria.
However, while CAA has been receiving technical support from SAR Stakeholders whenever there is an accident, he says in a modern civilized society; such engagements need to be sealed with an MOU in order to ensure quality and safety to the National and International aviation users who fly the Ugandan airspace.
Among the principal stakeholders signatory to Memorandum of Understanding include the Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of International Affairs (immigration, police, and prisons), Office of the Prime Minister (National disaster management), Ministry of Health, Uganda Wildlife Authority and also National Forestry Authority, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Finance (customs Department- Uganda Revenue Authority), Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, ministry of Informational and Communications Technology, Red Cross Society, Airline operators Safe Waters Foundation Africa and private health institutions.
According to Amoni, each stakeholder will be required to provide a list of facilities or resources that they can offer during the SAR missions.
The expected signing of the MOU is expected to boost Uganda’s preparedness for the forthcoming audit by the International Safety Audit of IICAO in June this year.