On August 3 and 4, 2021, the patrol boat Fulmar participated in a search and rescue (SAR) exercise held in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. Objective: to develop interoperability with Canadian army air assets as well as synergies between local administrations and services in Saint-Pierre.
No less than a dozen actors were involved in the preparation and conduct of this exercise: the Fulmar, the star of Gendarmerie Sao, the star of the Société nationale de sauvetage en mer (SNSM) Jaro II, the Nordet and Suroît ferries of the company SPM Ferries (which usually provide inter-island or Newfoundland connections), two CH-149 Cormorant helicopters of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) based in Newfoundland, a CC-130 Hercules aircraft of the RCAF based in Nova Scotia, the airport of Saint-Pierre, the Department of Maritime Affairs, the Prefecture as well as the defense mission at the Embassy of France in Canada.
For two days, in trying weather conditions due to a strong wind, the air and nautical means repeated together different phases that could constitute a real rescue operation: winching of wounded (at least one winch on each ship or speedboat), aerolargage of SAR equipment, towing … The crews gained a great deal of experience, maintained their qualifications in rescue operations and developed their mutual knowledge. It is now time to take stock in order to improve the procedures and equipment used in a dynamic of constant improvement of safety and performance.
The patrol boat Fulmar was central in providing comprehensive planning for the exercise, maintaining dialogue with the RCAF, organizing the various dockside briefings and coordinating all participants in the area.
In addition, the airport’s reception capacities were fully confirmed: three helicopter refuelings were carried out and the CC-130 recovered the equipment dropped at sea one hour after the exercise thanks to perfect coordination between the control tower, the aircraft, the nautical means and the gendarmerie for the transfer to the tarmac!
The Saint Pierre and Miquelon archipelago is located in the area of responsibility of the JRCC(Joint Rescue Coordination Center)in Halifax. Training with our Canadian partners is therefore of major importance. Saint Pierre and Miquelon also maintains privileged relations with Canada’s Atlantic provinces in all areas, including security in general.