Safety at Sea
NUKU’ALOFA-May 8: 4:21pm(Nuku’alofa Times): “We must respect the sea,” Tonga’s Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell said at the weekend.
In a statement sent to the media, Commissioner Caldwell said sea rescue operations are costly and people need to be responsible in their decisions to go out to the sea.
“Although we cannot put a dollar sign on a life saved, every time a Marine SAR is carried out, especially with assistance from NZ (NZ Airforce Orion), it may run to hundreds of thousands of dollars, all because of the selfish, irresponsible and reckless actions of individuals who should know better,” he said.
He emphasized the importance of taking precautions and safety measures before embarking on any voyage, and reminded mariners and seafarers to make sure that they have a life jacket, emergency flares, a beacon, a radio and a backup engine and sufficient fuel for the return voyage and a fully charged cell phone.
Since the launched of the three (3) new police SAR boats in December 2015, Tonga Police have saved 72 lives, from 22 Police SAR operations.
At the same time (four) 4 lives are still missing at sea and three (3) bodies were recovered.
“I praise the expertise and the courage of my staff in performing these rescues. I would like to acknowledge the assistance from His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) Regional Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ), Royal New Zealand Airforce, local fishermen as well as the coastal radio for all their assistance every time there is a Search and Rescue Operation,” he added.
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