The Search and Rescue (SAR) Convention of 1979 gives a clear definition of the term "Rescue". It involves not only "an operation to retrieve persons in distress, provide for their initial medical or other needs" but also to "deliver them to a place of safety". This obligation to initiate action is activated once the responsible authorities of a State Party receive information that any person is, or appears to be, in distress at sea. It further states that, once a State Party has accepted responsibility to provide search and rescue services for a specified area, it is obliged to use search and rescue units and other available facilities for providing assistance to anyone in distress at sea, and that such assistance is to be provided "regardless of the nationality or status of such a person or the circumstances in which that person is found".
- Approval e-Navigation Strategic Implementation Plan (doc. MSC 85/26) 2014
- Proposal e-Navigation Strategic Implementation Plan (MSC 85/26/Add.1) 2014