New Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) for Ostend



Eva Descamps, Shipping Assistance Division, Flemish Government, Ostend, Belgium


In June 2006, a new Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Ostend was commissioned by the Shipping Assistance Division of the Flemish Government.

The MRCC Ostend is offering a state-of-the-art and integrated platform for Vessel Traffic Monitoring, Incident Management and Search and Rescue functionalities to ensure safety and to coordinate rescue actions at sea.

This article provides a practical insight into the advanced Traffic Monitoring functionalities and technologies of the MRCC. It also shows how the MRCC system will be ready to cope with the challenges of the future.

The MRCC in Ostend is the central check point for incidents at sea, including persons and vessels in need, accidents and oil pollution.

In view of the ever increasing traffic on the North Sea and the increasingly strict European and international regulations, the Flemish Government saw the need for a modern and sophisticated MRCC.

The new centre in Ostend, equipped with the latest monitoring and communication technology, will play a very important role in maintaining the safety and environmental friendliness of our coastal waters and in providing the best possible response and accommodation in case of an incident.

The MRCC needs to cooperate with several international, federal, regional and local authorities and organisations. The centre is therefore linked to several (external and internal) databases and is equipped with an Incident Management System for the follow up, coordination and reporting of calamities.

The actual traffic image at sea and all other relevant information is available for all partners within the coast guard organisation. External communication is an important aspect of the MRCC’s responsibility, e.g. for notifying the press in case of any calamities.

To that purpose, both a control room and a meeting room have been equipped with all necessary communication tools in order to be able to follow up, control or report on possible rescue operations.

Along with its role as maritime coordination centre, the new MRCC’s meeting room will also be used as incident room and press information centre…

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