To strengthen cooperation in Search and Rescue (SAR) between Indonesia and Australia, the National SAR Agency of Indonesia (BASARNAS) and the Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will carry out a personnel exchange program in mid 2013. Under this program, the two agencies will place their personnel in their partner agency for 18 months. The aim is to build knowledge and expertise among the SAR officers and to enhance operational SAR coordination between BASARNAS and AMSA.
The SAR cooperation strengthening program between Indonesia and Australia is a result of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's State Visit to Darwin to meet with Prime Minister Gillard in June 2012. The meeting produced a Joint Communique issued by the two leaders which agreed on some fields of bilateral cooperation, including increased partnership for capacity building in SAR communication and information.
To follow-up the Joint Communique, on September 4th, 2012 Ministers of Transportation of the two countriesmet and produced a six point agreement. This included the personnel exchange program between BASARNAS and AMSA, to exchange experience and expertise between the two organisations. The program is implemented through a project from Australia to Indonesia, known as the Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Programme (ITSAP). ITSAP is an assistance package from Australia to Indonesia through Transportation Safety in Indonesia, which has been implemented since 2008, based on an MoU in transportation sector agreement signed by the Ministers of Transportation of the both countries. SAR is one of the activities covered in that MoU.
Through the exchange program, BASARNAS officers have been sent to AMSA since March 2013, while AMSA officers will start this program at BASARNAS in mid June. AMSA will send two officers at to BASARNAS for a period of 18 months, while BASARNAS will send officers for three months at a time. BASARNAS has already hadsix candidates for the program. Before sending AMSA officers to BASARNAS, Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Amb. Greg Moriarty,will pay an official courtesy call to the Head of BASARNAS, Lieutenant General (Mar) Mohammad Alfan Baharudin, to extend appreciation to BASARNAS for the ongoing cooperation between the search and rescue organisations, especially for the placement of AMSA personnel in BASARNAS headquarters and to discuss potential future cooperation opportunities between Indonesia and Australia with regard to search and rescue.