GEN 3.6  Search and rescue

1.   Responsible service

1.1  Responsibility for Search and Rescue (SAR) for civil aircraft within the Albania Search and Rescue Region (SRR) rests with the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
1.2  The Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy is responsible for SAR policy for civil aviation. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) acts as regulator and conducts due diligence on SAR. Queries on SAR for civil aviation should be addressed in the first instance to the following:

Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy Civil Aviation Authority Sulejman Delvina Street, No.1 P.O. Box 205 Tirana Albania

Tel:+355 4 2251220

Fax:+355 4 2223969

1.3  The MOD is the responsible authority for the implementation of SAR service throughout the Albania SRR. This responsibility is discharged through the National Search and Rescue Centre (RCC) at Tirana.

Ministry of Defence
National Search and Rescue Centre
Dibra Street
P.O. Box 2423

Tel:+355 4 2240081

Fax:+355 4 2270408

1.4  The service is provided in accordance with the provisions contained in the following documents:
1.5  Differences from ICAO Standards, Recommended Practices and Procedures are given at GEN 1.7.

2.   Area of responsibility

2.1  The search and rescue service is responsible for SAR operations within the Tirana FIR.

3.   Types of service

3.1  Details of the related search and rescue units are given in the Table below of Search and Rescue Units. In addition, various elements of the State police organisation, the merchant marine and the armed force are also available for search and rescue missions, when required.
3.2  The aeronautical, maritime and public telecommunication services are also available to the search and rescue organisation.
3.3  All aircraft are land-type equipped with medical supplies, emergency rations and survival radio equipment.
3.4  Civil aircraft are equipped to communicate on frequency 121.5 MHZ. Military aircraft are equipped to communicate on frequency 243.0 MHZ.
3.5  Search and Rescue units are as follows:
TiranaFarka HeliportHEL-L AB-206Endurance 2.5H, speed 90KT,
HEL-L AB-205Endurance 2.5H, speed 90KT,

4.   SAR agreements

4.1  An agreement has been concluded between the SAR service of Albania and the SAR service of Italy concerning the provision of assistance upon receipt by the former of a request from the latter for aid. This agreement provides for facilitation of the overflight and landing of search and rescue aircraft without prior permission after dispatch of a flight plan, for similar facilitation of the entry of surface vessels of the SAR service and their operation in border areas, for notification of entry to the authorities controlling entry, for defraying the costs of stop-overs, accommodation and transportation of crew members, and for direct communication between the two SAR services on all common search and rescue matters. Copies of this agreement are available upon request from the CAA.
4.2  Requests for the entry of aircraft, equipment and personnel from other States to engage in the search for aircraft in distress or to rescue survivors of aircraft accidents should be transmitted to the Rescue Coordination Centre.
4.3  Instructions as to the control which will be exercised on entry of such aircraft and/or personnel will be given by the Rescue Coordination Centre in accordance with a standing plan for the conduct of search and rescue in its area.

5.   Procedures and signals used

5.1   General
5.1.1  In order to enable the Rescue Coordination Centre to activate the most suitable facilities as quickly as possible, operators are requested to forward to the Rescue Coordination Centre information on the emergency and survival equipment carried on board any of their aircraft operating regularly within the Albania SRR.
5.2   Procedures
5.2.1  Aircraft not engaged in an actual search and rescue operation should as far as practical avoid any area in which actual search and rescue operations are in progress unless authorized by the appropriate ATS.
5.2.2  Procedures for a pilot in-command observing an accident or intercepting a distress call and/ or message are outlined in ICAO, Annex 12, Chapter 5.
5.2.3  Ditching reports, requested by aircraft about to ditch will as far as possible be given in accordance with the provisions in ICAO Annex 3, Meteorological Service for International Air Navigation.
5.3   Communications
5.3.1  Transmission and reception of distress messages within the Tirana Search and Rescue Area are handled in accordance with ICAO Annex 10, Volume II, Chapter 5, paragraph 5.3.
5.3.2  For communications during search and rescue operations, the codes and abbreviations published in ICAO Abbreviations and Codes (Doc 8400) are used.
5.3.3  The frequency 121.5 MHZ is guarded continuously during the hours of service at Tirana ACC. In addition, the aerodrome control tower will, on request, guard the frequency 121.5 MHZ. All coast stations guard the international distress frequencies.
5.3.4  Rescue aircraft belonging to permanent Search and Rescue Unit use both the call sign RESCUE and additional identification marks (ALFA, BRAVO, CHARLIE, etc.) during rescue operations.
5.4   Search and rescue signals
5.4.1  The search and rescue signals to be used are those prescribed in the Appendix of ICAO Annex 12.
5.4.2  Ground/air visual signal codes for use by survivors are as follows:
5.4.3  Ground-air visual signal code for use by rescue units are as follows:
5.4.4  Symbols shall be at least 2.5 metres (8 feet) long and shall be made as conspicuous as possible.

Note 1: Symbols may be formed by any means such as: strips of fabric, parachute material, pieces of wood, stones or such like material; marking the surface by tramping, or staining with oil.

Note 2: Attention to the above signals may be attracted by other means such as radio, flares, smoke and reflected light.

5.4.5   Air-to-ground signals  The following signals by aircraft mean that the ground signals have been understood:
  1. during the hours of daylight: by rocking the aircraft’s wings;
  2. during the hours of darkness: flashing on and off twice the aircraft’s landing lights or, if not so equipped, by switching on and off twice its navigation lights.  Lack of the above signal indicates that the ground signal is not understood.