U.S., Peru Sign Agreement to Enhance SAR Capabilities

This is the first binding SAR agreement between the United States and a South American country and will serve as the basis for future bilateral cooperation and coordination.

The governments of the United States and the Republic of Peru signed the U.S.-Peru Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Agreement during a signing ceremony held April 29 at the Peruvian Foreign Ministry in Lima, Peru. Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio Bardales and U.S. Ambassador to Peru Krishna R. Urs signed the agreement, meant to strengthen cooperation in maritime and aeronautical SAR and to enhance effectiveness in assisting people in distress.

The agreement allows enhanced, formal cooperation between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Peruvian General Directorate of Captaincies and Coastguards and Peruvian Air Force during maritime distress cases in the eastern Pacific Ocean. This is the first binding SAR agreement between the United States and a South American country and will serve as the basis for future bilateral cooperation and coordination of SAR operations in the two nations' contiguous maritime SAR regions.

The agreement also allows for cooperation on joint SAR exercises, regular checks of communication channels, reciprocal visits by SAR experts, and the exchange of information.

"This is a landmark agreement for the U.S. Coast Guard, as it codifies and recognizes the importance of cooperation between our two nations in conducting maritime and aeronautical search and rescue operations," said Richard Buttons, the U.S. delegate during the negotiations, which started in 2007. "The bottom line is that this agreement will save lives and improve our collective effectiveness in assisting mariners in distress. We are very pleased that the United States and Peru have established this formal partnership."

According to the Coast Guard's news release, the agreement stems from authorities and responsibilities found in the 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue and the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, to which the United States and Peru are parties. Both conventions require the establishment of search and rescue regions, defined by an area in which each nation agrees to coordinate and provide SAR services to persons in distress at sea.

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