MOSCOW, December 19 (RAPSI) - Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has submitted a bill to the State Duma that would allow aircraft to be used in sea rescue operations, the cabinet of ministers reports on its website on Friday.

The reference to the bill states that the draft federal law was developed by the Ministry of Transport as a framework for the involvement of air crews in search and rescue operations for those in distress at sea.

According to the Russian Code of Commercial Navigation, the use of aviation and air search in rescue operations on the sea is not compulsory. However, this goes against Russia’s responsibility under international agreements on marine search and rescue efforts.

Under the 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, each member state must provide assistance to anyone suffering distress at sea regardless of nationality or status or circumstances in which the person was found.

“Russia, as a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) undertook an obligation to fulfill the guidelines of the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual (IAMSAR) adopted by IMO/ICAO in London/Montreal in 1998). The Manual provides for non-reciprocal search and rescue of people suffering distress at sea,” the reference states.