Search and Rescue
The 1979 Convention, adopted at a Conference in Hamburg, was aimed at developing an international SAR plan, so that, no matter where an accident occurs, the rescue of persons in distress at sea will be co-ordinated by a SAR organization and, when necessary, by co-operation between neighbouring SAR organizations.
Although the obligation of ships to go to the assistance of vessels in distress was enshrined both in tradition and in international treaties (such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974), there was, until the adoption of the SAR Convention, no international system covering search and rescue operations. In some areas there was a well-established organization able to provide assistance promptly and efficiently, in others there was nothing at all.
IMO Circulars on Search and Rescue