US honours island-based ship operators
Five Bermudian-based shipping operators were yesterday honoured for helping to save lives at sea by the US Coast Guard.
US Consul General Mary Ellen Koenig presented the representatives of the organisations with pennants for their 15 ships and letters of appreciation on the US Coast Guard cutter Eagle, which is docked in Hamilton.
Mr Koenig said all of them were part of the voluntary automated mutual assistance vessel rescue network, used by search and rescue authorities around the world to help ships and aircraft in distress at sea.
Ms Koenig added: “AMVER saves lives. It has proven itself time and time again.
“I want to thank these Bermudian companies, their ships and their crews for participating in the AMVER safety programme during 2015 and for continuing this practice into the future.”
The organisations honoured were the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences, which owns the Atlantic Explorer, Neptune Group, owner of the container ship Oleander, and Frontline/Golden Ocean Group, Bernhard Schulte Ship Management and Teekay Shipping.
The AMVER programme was established in 1958. In 2005, 3,004 ships participated but just ten years later the total number of vessels taking part had risen to 7,776.
The system works by plotting submitted course plans to the AMVER computer centre, indicating port of departure, expected arrival at their destination, course and speed.
Ships report every 48 hours during their voyages so AMVER is able to project the position of ships in relation to ships or aircraft in trouble on the high seas, which allows them to divert the closest vessels to an emergency.
In 2005, an average of 3,159 ships were on the plot each day compared to an average of 8,083 last year.
A spokeswoman for the US Consul General’s office said: “AMVER improves the chances for aid in an emergency and can reduce the time lost for vessels responding to calls for assistance by coordinating a rescue response, utilising ships in the best position or with the best capability, thus eliminating unnecessary diversions by other vessels.
She added: “Regular AMVER reports compress the area of a search if a ship is unreported or overdue, because AMVER position reports verify that a ship arrived at a certain point on its voyage at a particular date and time.”
The scheme is open to ships of all flags and is free of charge.
The Eastern Confidence, a bulk carrier flagged in the Philippines, in April altered course after being alerted by the Greek Coast Guard of a migrant ship in distress in the Mediterranean and rescued 41 people.
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