Nam, Bots to Co-operate in Aviation
Gaborone – Namibia and Botswana have signed agreement letters on civil aviation Search and Rescue (SAR) that will co-ordinate services in the two neighbouring countries to meet domestic needs and international standards.
Botswana’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Nonofo Molefhi, and Minister of Works and Transport in Namibia, Erkki Nghimtina, signed the agreement.
The agreement would ensure support during accidents as well as an overall plan for co-ordination of civil search and rescue operations for effective use of resources.
The agreement is also in accordance with Article 25 of the 1944 Chicago Convention while the United Nations General Assembly adopted the principle in 1967.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Molefhi said the intention was to integrate available civil search and rescue resources into a co-operative network for greater protection of life and property.
According to the agreement, any state party aware of distress in spacecrafts or aircrafts to notify the country of origin.
Molefhi said that was essential because it provided all possible assistance to rescue the aircraft personnel, which would have landed within that state’s territory, either because of an accident, distress, emergency or unintended landing.
Molefhi further explained that any state party would be able to assist in the search and rescue operations where distress occurred beyond their territory. Essentially, by signing these letters of agreement, Molefhi said, Botswana and Namibia commit to assist each other in the event that an aircraft from either country requires any form of assistance.
Botswana will also honour its commitment to co-operate with Namibia, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 12 of the Chicago Convention, which Botswana ratified in 1978, Molefhi said.
“The two countries should remain united in ensuring aviation safety and security between Botswana and Namibia as well as Southern Africa Development Community (SADC); this will put the aviation industry on a global competitive edge,” said Molefhi.
For his part, Nghimtina called for co-operation between the two countries on issues such as training of personnel so as to have the same operation procedures to create an easier environment and minimise failures.
He added that there is need for the two countries to establish centres and sub-centres to co-ordinate all the research and rescue operations for easier communication with each other.