A volunteer group in Australia is using MarineTraffic to help provide crucial information during emergency situations.
The South East Queensland UHF Emergency Service Team (SEQUEST), an emergency radio communications service, is providing emergency and safety communications to citizens of South East Queensland through radio and social media operations. Their work helps support the community and emergency services during times of emergency, disaster and other events.
SEQUEST Founder Shane Barnes spoke to MarineTraffic from the organisations Brisbane headquarters and told us about the important work they are doing.
“We monitor all distress & working radio frequencies for calls for assistance and general routine calls. We also have Emergency Communication Action Plan in place for Disaster or emergency or impending weather events,” Shane told MarineTraffic.
He said SEQUEST broadcasts information about severe weather warnings and tsunami warnings, which it receives directly from the Bureau of Meteorology. It also provides communications to isolated communities following disasters or emergencies and provide emergency and support communications to emergency and community services.
“We use the My Fleets section and email and push notifications to stay informed and track rescue vessels enroute…”
“We broadcast information about emergency road closures, due to accidents, fires, other emergency’s or other safety issues on radio and social media, and we also assist and support emergency and community services with information.”
Shane said it’s important to note that SEQUEST is made up by volunteers often using their own radio equipment to listen for people needing assistance. “The safety services provided by SEQUEST is available to all users on a nil-fee-for-service basis.”
Shane said his group have been using MarineTraffic for more than three years after having heard about it from other Marine rescue agencies that recommended it.
“We use MarineTraffic for tracking of rescue vessels and search for vessels who call on radio if need be and also track vessels that are out during the day/night,” Shane explained. “We use the My Fleets section and email and push notifications to stay informed and track rescue vessels enroute to assisting the public who call us for help. MarineTraffic has also been extremely helpful in assisting us to track vessels who call us for assistance.”
Shane said SEQUEST runs MarineTraffic on a base computer and the application on two mobile phones.
During a recent emergency situation, SEQUEST relied on MarineTraffic to help rescue crew on a boat that ran out of fuel. “It was late at night and we were monitoring our radios when we received a mayday call from a boat off Combouyuro Point where it had ran out of fuel and was being swamped by waves in three metres of water,” Shane told us.
“It is so easy to find a GPS location without having to type it in”
As other vessels in the area raced to assist, Shane and his team were tracking these vessels on MarineTraffic and started calling the Coast Guard and the Water Police to advise them. “With radio comms being faint we were doing relays by telephone and noting the conversation details on paper. MarineTraffic allowed us to relay accurate information about all the vessels in the area, their name, direction and other crucial information that could help save lives in emergency situations.”
Shane said SEQUEST received a big thank you from the Water Police and Coast Guard for its effort in assisting with the emergency rescue and he believes MarineTraffic and it’s easy to use service can play an important role in emergency operations.
“It’s sure helpful to have MarineTraffic to assist with vessel tracking and also the GPS coordinates on the screen which run by mouse movement. It is so easy to find a GPS location without having to type it in, making it not only handy for tracking but for finding someone in trouble quick and easy.”