Croatian Volunteer Coast Guard - Factor in Safety at Sea Dr. Tonči Tadić, Rudjer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia
Abstract: • Croatian Volunteer Coast Guard (HDOS) has been pictured as voluntary, non-profit humanitarian public association. • Its task would primarily be to assist in search and rescue actions at sea, along with the participation in surveillance missions, as well as the preservation of the littoral and maritime domain under the sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia (both inland sea waters and the territorial sea), with the sea areas under the sovereign law of the Republic of Croatia (protected ecologic-fishery zone). • HDOS would not have any instruments of force employment. It has been designed as an entirely civilian seaworthy service, which would be used to service the vessels at sea.
Coast Guard Models for Croatia • No definite decision has been made with regard to the constitutional coast guard model in the Republic of Croatia, i.e. the most suitable in the preservation of the national interests of Croatia at the Adriatic Sea. Four models are offered: • 1. Coast Guard as integral part of the Croatian Navy; • 2. Coast Guard as a separate organization under the authority of the Croatian Navy; • 3. Coast Guard as a separate agency with special authorities; or • 4. Coast Guard, as the coordination of port master’s offices, maritime police forces and the Croatian Navy forces.
A need for volunteer-based or auxiliary coast guard • Independently from the Coast Guard model which will eventually be adopted in Croatia, one must always keep in mind the fact that practically every country, along with the “professional” coast guard forces, has developed the “reserve” coast guard forces, or rather the volunteer-based or auxiliary coast guard. • Its roles are: • The participation in search and rescue missions at sea, • As well as in the reinforcement role to the “actual” Coast Guard (in the missions of surveillance, and in preservation of the littoral and maritime domain under the sovereignty of that maritime country)
Why? The answer is simple and clear : • None of the countries thought of entrusting only the few coast guard professionals on the Coast Guard Ships, with the rescue missions at sea! • In the search and rescue missions at sea, the determination and experience of the inhabitants of the islands and coastal area is of utmost importance. • What these people need is the system to fit in!
Examples from other maritime countries • In USA or Canada, the Coast Guard Auxiliary has been an integrated part of the Coast Guard.
Examples from other maritime countries • Elsewhere the auxiliary coast guard is a separate organization dedicated for sea rescue mission: • Australia - Volunteer Coast Guard Association • Italy - The sea rescue association Salvamento(f. 1871) • UK - The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (f. 1824) • Island and Norway have similar associations
The organizational scheme of the Croatian Volunteer Coast Guard should follow mantioned models. • The Croatian Parliament should either adopt a separate bylaw in order to regulate the duties of HDOS - Croatian Volunteer Coast Guard, its work, authority and range of activities, and to provide a legal framework for. • A good example is set by the Fire Department Law, which has summoned and organized the work of the Volunteer Fire Brigades, and the status of the Croatian Fire Department Community as an umbrella framework for all firemen in Croatia.
The tasks of the HDOS: • search and rescue missions; • transportation of urgent medical patients to the land, • public beach surveillance tasks; • sea and beach competition safety; • sea - pollution prevention; • preservation of natural and cultural patrimony of the sea and undersea world in Adriatic; • education and courses for the members with regard to the safety sea missions in extreme situations; and • seminar and courses’ organizations with regard to the sea safety for all the stakeholders
HDOS organization scheme Commodore with The Adriatic HDOS headquarters The Coast Guard Headquarters The regional headquarters in 7 Adriatic regions(counties) The regional search and rescue centers The headquarters on littoral municipal level or on islands local headquarters of the HDOS flotilla
The Commodore and The Adriatic Headquarters of HDOS • The commodore is the commanding officer, in charge of the HDOS. • The Adriatic HDOS headquarters would take care of the operative work, subordinated to the Coast Guard Headquarters, and linked to the Search and Rescue Center. • The HDOS Assembly General - composed of representatives of 7 Adriatic regions, elects the HDOS presidency for its mandate. • The presidency appoints the HDOS commanding officer, and authorizes him to constitute the HDOS headquarters. • The task of these central bodies is to establish the full cooperation with the “professional” Coast Guard, as well as to work on the modernization and professional education. • The organizational scheme on regional level follows the national organization scheme. • The regional HDOS assembly is composed of HDOS association representatives on municipal level, or island associations.
HDOS membership • The HDOS membership would be composed of all those sailing on the Adriatic, citizens of the Republic of Croatia: • members of different diving centers, • private small ship-owners, skippers and ship tradesmen, • fishing boat owners and fishermen, • and generally all who would be prepared to attend special search- and- rescue- at- sea – courses. • The HDOS activities would be voluntary, and they would not be reimbursed for the rescue missions. • The HDOS membership would also be volunteer – based, and the uniforms and equipment would be provided for “out of one’s own pocket”, or from member-ship fees, donations or subventions • It is, nevertheless, of utmost importance, to create the adequate social climate, with the basic idea that at sea, everyone can contribute in rescue missions.
Auxiliary HDOS vessels • In the ideal scenario, HDOS would use the Coast Guard auxiliary ships. • However, since we feel the chronic lack of specially designed ships in Croatia, HDOS should open its doors to private ship-owners, who would thus become the reserve or “listed” HDOS ships. • The private ships could be prepared and await missions only on irregular basis, several weeks a year. Of course, the rescue costs would be covered by HDOS. • The yacht owners with navigational experience, willing to volunteer, could become members along with their vessel. • Such a reserve Coast Guard vessel, would, whilst on duty, wave the reservist’s Coast Guard flag. • Thus HDOS would be able to employ, in a short time, several hundreds of ships and several thousands of members on the Adriatic which would be of immeasurable benefit in all search and rescue missions, and would improve the safety at sea!
Croatia only has to follow the already successful path and examples of other maritime countries !THANK YOU !