News - September 29, 2017

SafeTrx by 8 West sponsors H.E.R.O. Award for Outstanding Individual

8 West Consulting, the company that developed SafeTrx, the vessel tracking smartphone application, has been announced as the sponsor of the International Maritime Rescue Federation’s H.E.R.O. award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Maritime SAR Operation.

The deadline for nominations for the IMRF H.E.R.O Awards, 2017, closed at the end of July and judging is currently underway. This year there were more than 40 entries from around the world, nominating individuals and organisations involved in maritime search and rescue, who deserve recognition for their exceptional service.

Last year the winner of the Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Maritime SAR Operation was Captain Hervé LEPAGE, Master of CMA CGM ROSSINI for his skilled search and rescue of the crew of the upturned catamaran Llama Lo off the South African Wild Coast.

John Murphy, CEO, 8 West Consulting says; “8 West Consulting is pleased to support the IMRF’s H.E.R.O. Awards. SAR professionals go above and beyond on every call-out, there is so much unsung heroism and some truly exceptional people who deserve wider recognition for all they contribute to our safety and community. I look forward to presenting the H.E.R.O. Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution at the ceremony on 2 November.”

John Murphy experienced an emergency SAR situation first hand in the French Alps, when he had a serious accident in very bad weather that resulted in a helicopter rescue. That incident and subsequent conversations with people in the SAR domain led to the development of SafeTrx.

“We are very grateful to 8 West Consulting for their sponsorship of the H.E.R.O. Awards, although only in their second year the H.E.R.O. Awards 2017 have attracted interest and nominations from around the world in all categories, demonstrating the exceptionally high level of service provided by maritime SAR individuals and organisations,” says Udo Fox, IMRF Chairman and Trustee and Executive Director, German Maritime Search & Rescue Service.

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) is the non-governmental organisation bringing the world’s maritime SAR organisations together to share knowledge and improve maritime SAR coordination and response so more people in distress on the sea can be saved. The IMRF H.E.R.O. Awards seek to recognise some of these exceptional individuals and organisations around the world that make maritime SAR possible.

There are four categories in the IMRF H.E.R.O Awards 2017:

• Individual award recognising outstanding contribution by an individual in a maritime SAR operation, sponsored by 8 West Consulting.

• Team award, recognising outstanding contribution by a team or teams in the maritime SAR ecosystem working together to save lives, sponsored by lead sponsor Orolia/McMurdo.

• Innovation and Technology award recognising new products and technologies developed that improve the work and success of SAR organisations.

• The Vladimir Maksimov Lifetime Achievement award recognising outstanding service to SAR by an individual or organisation, sponsored by Inmarsat.

The winners will be announced at an awards dinner held at the RNLI, Poole in the UK and online, 2 November, 2017.

The H.E.R.O awards 2017 are also supported by lead sponsor Orolia/McMurdo - global leader in emergency response and readiness and sponsor Inmarsat – global satellite owner and operator which provides mobile and fixed communications services to the maritime industry.


News - August 21, 2017

100 SafeTrx SAR taskings in Holland, January to July 2017

By the end of July, halfway through the 2017 boating season in Holland, Dutch SafeTrx users had sent over 100 distress calls triggering rescue missions. A rescue mission is defined as requiring a physical action with a lifeboat or a coastal assistance truck. In practically all of these situations assistance was needed to prevent things getting worse.

Henk Kok, Senior International Advisor Maritime Search and Rescue at the KNRM, commented; “In the wider context of the range of other serious incidents that occurred, it is easy to conclude that the losses to life and property would have certainly have been less if SafeTrx / KNRM Helpt had been used.”

John Murphy, CEO of 8 West, the developers of SafeTrx, also commented that “SafeTrx helps to provide the ‘right place, right time’ information for the rescue services. We work closely with KNRM to ensure that SafeTrx continues to support improved assistance and rescue performance for Dutch water users.”

According to KNRM, the benefits of SafeTrx to the Dutch marine leisure community include:

•Lowering the barrier for users calling for help, in both assistance and emergency situations. The SafeTrx distress emergency call feature combines audio calling with automatic location transmission.

•The functionality to prepare trips, getting the right information before and during trip tracking and reporting arrival at the end destination.

•Providing registration and tracking information directly to KNRM operations. The information strongly supports and speeds up assistance and rescue performance.

•Providing a communications option in distress situations when other means of communication fail or are unavailable.

KNRM is advocating the use of SafeTrx for regattas, races and other events to various Dutch watersports governing bodies and as part of the international SafeTrx user group is engaged in providing other SafeTrx licensees with feedback on best practice in the promotion of marine water safety. Henk Kok said, “Individual crewmembers seldom make use of personal alerting devices such as personal locator beacons (PLB’s). The purchase of PLB’s by Dutch boaters is practically non-existent. SafeTrx is a vital tool for KNRM, providing free and easy to use tracking and distress alerting capability.”

About SafeTrx/ KNRM Helpt

SafeTrx has been in use by the KNRM (Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution) since the summer of 2015. SafeTrx now has more than 30,000 registered users in Holland, and has generated approximately 500 distress calls over three seasons of boating and water sports. SafeTrx tracks between 80 and 140 trips per day in in high season, and has tracked over 25,000 trips in Dutch waters so far. It accounts for a significant proportion of the assistance requests received by KNRM, the coordinating body for the Netherlands Coast Guard for emergency response and KNRM’s own Call Centre Service for non-emergency assistance.


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”.