On August 17, the U.S. Consulate recognized seven shipping companies registered in Bermuda for participating in the United States Coast Guard’s voluntary search and rescue network, AMVER [Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue]. Search and rescue authorities around the world use the voluntary ship reporting system to assist ships and aircraft in distress at sea.
The companies whose 17 ships received awards for participating in AMVER are:
- AET Inc. Ltd. for the Eagle Atlanta, the Eagle Charlotte, and the Eagle Suburu.
- Bernhard Schulte Ship Management Ltd. for the Bahama Spirit and the Susanne Schulte;
- Frontline Ltd. for the Front Tina, Front Katherine, and Front Commander;
- Gearbulk Pool Ltd. for the Swan Arrow;
- Golden Ocean Group Ltd. for the Golden Eclipse, Golden Eminence, Golden Endeavor, Golden Shanghai, Golden Zhejiang, and Golden Zhoushan;
- Nordic American Tankers, Ltd. for the Nordic Vega; and
- Petredec Ltd. for the Navigator Pegasus.
Seven of these ships were enrolled with AMVER for one year; four for two consecutive years; three for three consecutive years; two for four consecutive years; and one, the Eagle Atlanta, for five consecutive years.
After presenting letters of appreciation to representatives of the local participating companies and certificates of merit and pennants for their ships, U.S. Consul General Grace W. Shelton said, “I want to thank these companies and ships for participating in the AMVER program. While none of these ships was actually called upon to engage in a rescue, they were available to help if the need arose.
“That counts for a lot when human lives are at stake. We welcome the seven ships that are new to the AMVER support system and encourage continued participation in this search and rescue program.”
Consul General Shelton added, “Ships earn an AMVER award by being ‘on plot’ at least 128 days of the calendar year. The Oleander, although it did not meet that minimum requirement, did in fact save four sailors from a 46-foot sailboat foundering in the Atlantic last November, and I want to recognize their bravery. The Association for Rescue at Sea will present a special award to the Oleander in a ceremony on October 4, 2012, on Capitol Hill.”
Overall, AMVER-enrolled ships saved 190 lives in 2011 and assisted another 27 people in distress, providing needed medicine or fuel. There was an average of 4,629 ships available every day during 2011 to assist in search and rescue. The Bermuda ships being honored were among that number, and we are thankful for their active participation.
The AMVER Center computer receives over 14,000 AMVER messages a day. About 3,000 lives have been saved by AMVER-participating ships since 2000. The success of AMVER is directly related to the extraordinary cooperation of ships, companies, search and rescue authorities, communication service providers and governments in supporting this international humanitarian program to protect life and property at sea.
This is how it works: Prior to sailing, participating ships send a sail plan to the AMVER computer center, indicating their ports of departure and arrival, course and speed. Vessels then report every 48 hours until arriving at their port of call. Thus AMVER is able to project the position of each ship at any point during its voyage in relation to a mariner, vessel, or aircraft in distress. AMVER rescue coordinators can then divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.
The concept of an AMVER safety network arose after the 1912 Titanic disaster. Passing ships were unaware that the Titanic had hit an iceberg and was sinking, believing that the distress signals were part of the maiden voyage celebrations. The idea of a ship reporting system that could identify other ships in the area of a distressed ship did not become a reality, however, until the advent of computer technology in the 1950s.
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