The large-scale Search and Rescue exercise (SAR Workshop) was completed today in Zakynthos. The purpose of this initiative was to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the participants, the exchange of best practices as well as the identification and resolution of any malfunctions.
The exercise took place in the presence of the Minister of Shipping and Insular Policy, Christos Stylianidis and the Chief of the Coast Guard – Hellenic Coast Guard, Vice Admiral L.S. Georgiou Alexandrakis, from October 24 to 25, 2023, within the framework of the strengthened cooperation of the LS-EL.AKT. with the European Border and Coast Guard Organization/FRONTEX.
After the end of the exercise, Mr. Stylianidis made the following statement:
“Today here in Zakynthos we attended an excellent Search and Rescue Exercise which, in my opinion, having experience in similar Exercises as a former European Union Commissioner for Crisis Management, was one of the most outstanding Exercises we have attended. And I do not say this as a compliment to the Greek Coast Guard. I say this with absolute objectivity because where we are we must be honest with ourselves first.
I repeat to you, I am impressed by the Exercise, I believe that I can judge even the details of such an Exercise. And it has been amply demonstrated that, with the Greek Coast Guard as a pillar but also the other participants, certainly Frontex which is a co-organizer but also the other participating countries in general, I think it is a ‘starting’ exercise at a pan-European level to deal with a much more professional way and above all a ‘super’ coordination of the crises that come. Criticisms that are unfortunately difficult to avoid.
All Exercises are also based on the staff’s ability to cope with any difficulties of such an Exercise. But, mainly because there are many participants and with different cultures, the main issue is coordination. It is the background to build such an Exercise which also meets the requirements of the common reality».
During his visit to Zakynthos, Mr. Stylianidis, accompanied by the Chief of the Coast Guard – Hellenic Coast Guard, Vice Admiral L.S. Georgios Alexandrakis, the Director of the Security and Policing Branch of the LS – EL.AKT., Rear Admiral LS. Tryfona Kontizas, the Director of the Staff Office Y.NA.NP., Chief Captain L.S. Nikolaos Lagadianos, the Commander-in-Chief L.S. Christos Kontorouha, the Regional Governor of the 3rd Regional Administration L.S. – EL.AKT., Chief Captain L.S. Pavlos Tiftikidis and the Head of the Integrated Maritime Surveillance Service of the L.S. – EL.AKT., Master L.S. Georgios Christianos, visited the Port Authority of Zakynthos where he spoke with the officers of the Port Authority and urged them to continue with the same zeal the important work they are performing.
In the afternoon, the Minister participated in a meeting with local bodies, during which the next steps to upgrade the central port of Zakynthos were discussed, setting as a common goal the effective response to the challenges, the better service to the citizens and visitors of Zakynthos and the strengthening the economic life of the island.
This morning (25/10) the Minister of Shipping and Insular Policy, Christos Stylianidis, attended a practical exercise in the management of a Search and Rescue incident, which was conducted under the coordination of the Unified Coordination Center for Search and Rescue (EKSED) of the Headquarters LS. – EL.AKT., in the wider maritime area southeast of Zakynthos, with a realistic scenario, which included an E/G boat with passengers in a difficult position, people in the sea, etc. with cooperation between sea and air means.
The Piraeus Single Coordination Center for Search and Rescue (EKSED) took part in the exercise, with a coordinating role, as well as LS-EL.AKT patrol boats, the LS-EL.AKT High Seas Vessel. 090 “GAVDOS”, LS-EL.AKT patrol boat (PLS 139), Italian open sea patrol boat (ITCG OPV-DE GRAZIA), LS-EL.AKT helicopter, Italian Coast Guard helicopter (HELO ITCG ) and a high-speed boat of the Hellenic Rescue Team (E.O.D.).
The execution of the exercise was also attended by staff members of the LS-EL.AKT., the organizations FRONTEX, EFCA, EMSA, Officials from France, Italy, Spain, USA, Cyprus, Estonia, Morocco, Croatia, Slovenia , Finland, Turkeyand representatives of the European Union Asylum, the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Ministry of Migration and Asylum and finally representatives of the Security Forces, Local Government and local bodies.
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