News - July 27, 2017

SafeTrx Triggers 149 Rescue Missions in Norway

Redningsselskapet, the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue or RS, has been a SafeTrx licensee since the beginning of 2016. In 2016 RS saved 45 lives, and assisted some 6,500 boats in distress. Those numbers make their use of SafeTrx in 2017 very impressive.

In 2017 RS has so far received more than 340 alerts from SafeTrx. 149 of these alerts triggered a rescue mission (“Oppdrag”). Other calls were resolved without the need of sending out a rescue boat. All in all more than 200 of the received alerts were from genuinely real distress situations.

Martin Fuhr Bolstad, responsible for IT, procurement and innovation at Redningsselskapet, said “For us, SafeTrx has been a truly useful tool, helping to pinpoint distress situations precisely so our crews can respond effectively. We see SafeTrx as being at the heart of marine safety alerting for members of the boating public who operate inshore and don’t have the SOLAS equipment of larger vessels.”

John Murphy, CEO of 8 West Consulting the parent company that developed SafeTrx, commented “We are privileged to work with organisations like RS that are at the cutting edge of real world Search and Rescue. Knowing that SafeTrx is helping to resolve potentially life threatening emergencies is both humbling and challenging. We will continue developing SafeTrx for our growing community of licensees around the world and look forward to sharing the RS experience with our other partners.”

Martin Fuhr Bolstad went on to say “RS sees our cooperation with 8 West as strategic. We want to work together to develop a digital ecosystem to support the boating community and improve communication with the rescue organisation. Digital technologies have great potential to improve alerting and provide rescue operations with more precise information. We see SafeTrx as a core technology in this scenario.”

News - June 29, 2017

Republic of Cyprus joins the SafeTrx Community

Cork, Ireland 29th June - 8 West Consulting, the company behind the SafeTrx vessel tracking and alerting application, today announced that the Cypriot Ministry of Defence is purchasing the SafeTrx software and the JRCC Larnaca is in process to implement it. The Republic of Cyprus joins a growing list of States whose maritime Search and Rescue organisations are using SafeTrx.

The Cypriot Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) is part of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus and its primary mission is to co-ordinate, control and direct SAR operations in the region (FIR NICOSIA). The JRCC coordinates all the countries national agencies involved in SAR such as the Cyprus Police Aviation Unit, the Cyprus Police, Port and Marine Police, the Cyprus National Guard, Naval Command, the Cyprus National Guard Air Force Command, the Cyprus Civil Defence and other secondary Units.

The Cypriot JRCC can promote improved rescue services to the general boating public, using SafeTrx to help promote safe, responsible recreational boating in Cyprus’s coastal waters. The JRCC conducts more than 70 search and rescue missions annually and assists over 1000 people in Cypriot waters every year.

The JRCC SafeTrx app uses all the standard SafeTrx vessel tracking and alerting features in addition to a number of localised features.

In addition to it’s vessel tracking capabilities, the JRCC SafeTrx app provides a mobile maritime safety platform to the Cypriot boating community. Useful maritime safety information provided by the JRCC can be accessed by the boater when they’re online or offline. Mobile app users are also able to view the location of nearby marinas and local maritime services on an interactive map.

The alerting feature in SafeTrx has been a key part of its success to date, and has helped avoid potentially catastrophic outcomes for marine users from South Africa to Norway. Documented rescues where SAR responders were alerted by SafeTrx users include 15+ incidents in Norway, multiple rescues in Finland, two recent rescues in South Africa, and two in Dutch waters.

Announcing the signing of the Agreement, Captain Costas Fitiris, Commander of the JRCC said, “The implementation of SafeTrx is a part of the JRCC’c efforts for zero loss of human life at sea. The software will provide distress information features minimizing the response time but also a lot of maritime safety information preventing accidents at sea’’. John Murphy, CEO of 8 West Consulting added, “We are delighted to welcome the Republic of Cyprus’ JRCC as a new customer. Our customers are aware of the tremendous reputation SafeTrx has in the maritime world and at 8 West we take that reputation very seriously. We are looking forward to working closely with the JRCC in the upcoming implementation”.

News - June 23, 2017

SafeTrx Next Generation Marine Tracking on Thunder Child

Cork, Ireland 23rd June

8 West Consulting is delighted to be sponsoring the Safehaven Marine “Thunder Child” Long Way Round record attempt, circumnavigating the entire island of Ireland and including Rockall, which lies almost 500km northwest of Ireland. Our dedicated SafeTrx Thunder Child tracking website, to track the record attempt, is now live and we waiting to announce the start of the circumnavigation as soon as a two-day good weather window opens.

The latest SafeTrx Open Architecture that underpins the tracking website now supports tracking technology including satellite and IoT devices, in addition to smartphones. Our SafeTrx architecture will be receiving data from L band and Iridium satcom devices onboard as well as a number of SafeTrx compatible Sigfox IoT tracking devices, as well as standard smartphones and GPS-enhanced smartphones.

Sigfox is a low-power, wide-area network designed to allow simple internet of things (IoT) devices to communicate. Since Sigfox has a long range and low power requirement, it has exciting potential in marine safety, providing connectivity in areas without cellular coverage. The Sigfox network in Ireland is operated by VT, and the network is expected to extend at least 150km out to sea. Devices communicating on the network can have batteries that last for years.

John Murphy, CEO said “Our new SafeTrx Open Architecture has allowed us to build a scalable platform to accommodate new non-mobile tracking and alerting technology. Working with these new low-cost, long range, long battery life IoT devices and new IoT distress wearables provides our customers with new possibilities. We saw the prospect of partnering up with Safehaven Marine as a fantastic opportunity to test these new tracking and alerting devices in one the harshest environments on the planet, the North Atlantic. Our devices on the Thunder Child will be transmitting location data over L-band, Iridium, GSM and Sigfox. All these are integrated into SafeTrx and are accessible to the public on the dedicated SafeTrx Thunder Child tracking website. We are driving innovation in the search and rescue space to enhance safety, and it’s working. We have logged 750,000 hours of use already with multiple potentially catastrophic outcomes avoided because of the use of SafeTrx. We would like to thank our technology partners in in Thuraya Telecom, Capturs, HidnSeek, VT and YB Tracking.”

In keeping with the principles of our SafeTrx Open Architecture, we have adopted a new product portfolio set, ASR; Alert, Search and Respond. Within the Alert portfolio we have a new SafeTrx compatible wearable distress device, somewhat like a dive watch, fully integrated with SafeTrx technology to transmit emergency alerts should the user experience distress at sea. The devices are being manufactured by a Norwegian partner. We have also integrated a Man Over Board (MOB) Bluetooth LE wearable with our Dutch partner, “Pan Pan”. This integration allows for automated alert integration from the Pan Pan device into the SafeTrx eco system. In ‘Search’, we have integrated autonomous drone dispatch with SafeTrx through our partner DroneSAR, to accelerate the SAR process. Finally, in ‘Respond’ we have integrated with the D4H LIVE Emergency Operations Platform.

Thunder Child is an “XSV 17” interceptor vessel, designed and built by Safehaven Marine. The design is a 17m very high speed, wavepiercing, low RCS Interceptor, designed for naval, law enforcement and offshore patrol applications, as well as being capable of high speed SAR operations, being self-righting, and offering extremely fast emergency response times.

About 8 West Consulting

8 West Consulting, established in 1998 as DeCare Systems Ireland (DSI), is an enterprise software development company, working primarily in .Net and Java technologies. 8 West enjoys long term customer relationships and has a strong track record of innovation and on time project delivery. With over 200 software technology professionals on staff, largely based in their Cork offices, 8 West provides unique, customer-specific, cost-efficient solutions for clients in the US and EMEA.

8 West is also the developer of the world leading Search and Rescue (SAR) product, SafeTrx. Designed in close cooperation with SAR professionals across the world, the award winning SafeTrx product is now in use with customers including the Finnish Lifeboat Institute (Suomen Meripelastusseura), the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger), the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij), the Sociedad de Salvamento y Seguridad Marítima (SASEMAR) in Spain, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in South Africa, the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard (AVCG), the Norwegian Sea Rescue Society (Redningsselskapet), the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) in the United Kingdom and the Irish Sailing Association (ISA).

News - April 18, 2017

SafeTrx Raises Alarm on Capsized RIB in South Africa

On Monday 17th April, the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Mykonos lifeboat station was activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following a SafeTrx distress call received from 2 persons on a capsized RIB off-shore of Gonnemanskraal, Jacobsbaai. Reporting a third person was still under water scuba diving from their boat at the capsized position, they made an emergency call to the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to raise the alarm. In addition, family in Cape Town who had also received the SafeTrx overdue SMS message, contacted friends in Jacobsbaai who launched their private boat to go to assist.

The following is the incident report from NSRI Mykonos Station Commander, ​Casper Frylink:

“At 14h03, Monday, 17th April, NSRI Mykonos were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following an NSRI RSA SafeTrx distress call received from 2 persons on a capsized rubber-duck off-shore of Gonnemanskraal, Jacobsbaai, and reporting a diver still down scuba diving from their boat at their capsized position.

NSRI Mykonos launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Freemasonry and Gemini Rescuer II and responded 20 nautical miles to the scene. On arrival at the scene, about a nautical mile off-shore, found all persons safe and other boats in attendance and assisting.

Matthew and Megan Melidonis, aged 30 and 31, from Kirstenhof, Cape Town, both NSRI coxswains, off-duty on a recreational day diving and on a rubber-duck owned and skippered by 77 year old Doug Cleland, from Camps Bay, were scuba diving on a reef off-shore of Gonnemanskraal on the West Coast.

Matthew was scuba diving and under water at the time when waves caused the rubber-duck to capsize with Megan and Doug onboard.

Megan and Doug were able to climb onto the upturned hull of the capsized rubber-duck and Megan used her cellphone to activate the NSRI’s RSA SafeTrx emergency phone application that is downloaded to her phone and to also make a call to MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to raise the alarm and to inform that her husband was still under water scuba diving.

Megan then free dived under the boat to recover the capsize kit and fire off a red distress flare in the direction of a fishing vessel passing by less than a nautical mile from their position but the distress flare appears to have gone unnoticed by the fishing vessel.

Megan then recovered and deployed the anchor to prevent the upturned boat from drifting onto rocks.

MRCC had also received the RSA SafeTrx emergency distress message at the same time as the phone call from Megan and Saldanha Bay Port Control and NSRI Mykonos were alerted by MRCC.

Family in Cape Town, who had also received the RSA SafeTrx emergency message, contacted friends in Jacobsbaai who launched their private boat to go to assist.

At that stage Matthew had surfaced from his scuba dive and he swam over to the capsized rubber-duck and once at the capsized rubber-duck he and Megan had continued to set off red distress flares at delayed intervals. The red distress flares were noticed by campers at Trekoskraal who launched their recreational craft and came to assist.

Matthew was also able to call for assistance and to confirm their position using a handheld Marine VHF radio that he recovered from their upturned craft and Telkom Maritime Radio Services intercepted the call and confirmed that NSRI Mykonos were activated and en-route.

When the two private boats arrived on the scene they were informed by the casualty crew that NSRI were also well on their way and Megan and Doug were taken onboard one of the private boats and on NSRI’s arrival on the scene Matthew remained behind to assist to right the capsize boat while one of the private boats took Megan and Doug to shore.

Their casualty boat was righted and towed to shore by NSRI and once safely ashore their boat was recovered and no further assistance was required.

The casualty crew Megan Melidonis, NSRI Hout Bay coxswain, and her husband Matthew, NSRI Simon’s Town coxswain, are commended for having all safety measures and equipment at hand to initiate an immediate rescue response and the private boats from Jacobsbaai and Trekoskraal that responded are commended for going to their assistance.”