Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 240

240 Arctic Yearbook 2015 local and national level by coherent policy management. At the international level, the Arctic Council and the forthcoming Arctic Coast Guard Forum will play important roles in combatting institutional uncertainty pertaining to emergency response in the Arctic region, by harmonizing policy and linking decisions. Taking a closer look: institutional uncertainty The eight Arctic states are all parties to the 2011 Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic (hereafter referred to as SAR Agreement4) negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council, and are therefore bound to respond to a search and rescue situation in accordance with the articles of that Agreement. However, the language of the treaty is deliberately vague: an “adequate and effective search and rescue capability” is left undefined, as is the nature of the promptness that is required in communications between parties. While tasking states with the duty to respond, the Agreement leaves a great deal of latitude. The case study of the Oryong 501, a South Korean trawler that sank in the Bering Sea under high seas in November 2014, serves to demonstrate that national SAR capacity and culture varies in ways that create institutional uncertainty and contribute to the wickedness of emergency response in the Arctic. On November 30, 2014, the Oryong 501 took a large wave onboard while hauling in pollock, and water flooded the boat’s storage chambers.5 The captain ordered the crew of 60 to abandon ship nearly 109 miles away from land. The incident occurred in waters delegated to Russian SAR responsibility under the 2011 Agreement, but near to the border with the US zone of responsibility. According to reports and interviews, the designated Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, the Russian Kamchatka Border Guard Directorate (KBGD), did not immediately respond to the incident. The US Coast Guard 17th District Command Center was notified of the incident by Oryong 501’s emergency locator beacon alert signals and immediately contacted the Russian Rescue Coordination Center in Vladivostok (Honings 12/19/14). Although the US Coast Guard offered assistance, Russia did not accept help until the next morning, December 1st, 2014. Throughout the search, Russia did not provide a base or aircraft support to aid what should have been an international search and rescue effort (Klint 2014). Extensive assets were utilized throughout multiple search efforts by the United States Coast Guard and the South Korean Navy (Miller 2014). The US Coast Guard deployed US Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, US Coast Guard Cutter Munro, several C-130 Hercules aircraft based out of Air Station Kodiak, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Kodiak, and two SAR planners from Juneau to assist South Korean Navy P-3 aircrews in Anchorage (Honings 12/15/14). US assets were requested to divert from their original missions to support the search. Additionally, Good Samaritan vessels played a large role in search efforts and the rescue of seven survivors. Of Oryong 501’s 60-crewmembers, seven survived, 27 crewmembers were recovered deceased, and 26 people remain missing in the waters. A week after the incident, the South Korean Navy aircrafts relieved the US Coast Guard of aeronautical searches. During its involvement in the search and recovery efforts, the US Coast Guard conducted 24 searches, covering more than 4,576 square miles (US Coast Guard). Large-Scale Disaster Response in the Arctic: Are We Ready?