Abuja - The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called on operators in the aviation and maritime sectors to strictly comply with international regulations regarding the use of 406MHz beacons.
The agency said this would facilitate efficient and effective search and rescue operations in the event of disasters.
According to a statement by Sani Datti, Senior Information Officer of the agency, the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani Sidi, stated this during an awareness forum for beacon users in the country, held in Lagos.
South West Zonal Coordinator, Iyiola Akande, who represented Sidi, said the workshop was intended to remind the stakeholders of the importance of beacon handling and to intimate participants on emerging technologies relating to 406MHz beacons and COSPAS- SARSAT.
According to him, stakeholders’ views on the emerging technologies would be collected to enrich the Nigeria’s contribution to the ongoing discussion on the future of the COSPAS - SARSAT system.
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He added that all aircraft and ships were mandated to carry functional 406MHz beacons to enable the COSPAS- SARSAT equipment to track them whenever in distress.
He cited the case of missing Malaysian Flight MH370 which has underscored the need for aircraft and ship to be equipped with operational beacons.
Although the Flight MH370 was known to have 2 beacons at the time of its disappearance, nobody was sure if they were functional.
Head of the Nigeria Mission Control Centre, Michael Igwe, said COSPAS SARSAT was a satellite based high-tech meant to track down distressed alerts emitted by beacons in dire need of rescue and intervention anywhere in the world.
The aviation and maritime beacons are meant to track distress alerts from ships, ferries, canoes, choppers and aircraft in distress.
Igwe however warned that beacons can only be effective if the installed batteries are charged and functional.
He noted that in 2013 the mission detected the crash distress alert signal of Associated Airline at Murtala Mohammad Airport, Lagos and that of the Diamond Airline crash at Aviation School Ilorin.
Nigeria, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa have such high tech equipment in Africa while Nigeria covers the West and parts of Central African regions.
- CAJ News