Ahead of the planned resumption of flights in the country on Wednesday, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has procured sophisticated search and rescue equipment to boost its aeronautical search and rescue capability across the Nigerian airspace.
The equipment which is being distributed among the nation’s Rescue Coordination Centers (Lagos and Kano) and Rescue Subcenters (Abuja, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Enugu, Ilorin, and Sokoto) include plotting facilities, communication facilities, medical supplies and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) documents among others.
The plotting equipment includes workstations (for digital plotting) and topographical maps for manual plotting).
Communication equipment includes very high frequency (VHF) radios, high frequency (HF) radios, megaphones as well as Search and Rescue dedicated satellite telephones which can work outside a network area.
ICAO documents include IAMSAR Manual Volume 1,2 and 3, as well as Annex 12, Search and Rescue Preparation Manual. Other items procured include multifunctional photocopiers, laptops, printers, professional torchlights, status boards, computer desktops and personal locator beacons.
Speaking on this development, the Managing Director of NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, said the agency took steps to procure the equipment in order to enhance its preparedness and efficiency in Search and Rescue coordination in the event of any occurrence, especially given that the airports were about to be reopened to commercial activities.
His words: “For instance, the workstations which came with software applications for digital and faster plotting will aid our personnel in precisely locating where an incident or accident occurred”.
Fola also revealed that in addition to the facility upgrade, the agency recently recruited experienced Search Mission Coordinators to be on 24 hours watch at both the Rescue Coordination Centers and Rescue Subcenters, saying that dedicated telephone numbers and email addresses of the above Search and Rescue centres have been published in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).
“So, having beefed up the capacity of Search and Rescue unit at the two Rescue Coordination Centers and at the six Rescue Subcenters in the country, (NAMA) is more prepared than ever before in terms of human capacity as well as equipment upgrade.
Also, note that in the last couple of years, the agency has trained different categories of critical personnel both in Nigeria and outside the country in Search and Rescue Coordinator courses in line with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs),” the NAMA boss added.