Friday, December 5, 2008

Amver; Now More Than Ever

The recent announcement by United States Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen regarding our High Endurance Cutter sustainability, coupled with the recent report of a passenger vessel grounding in Antarctica, where a vessel in the vicinity helped the distressed ship, underscores the continued need for, and use of, the Amver system.

Amver remains a force multiplier, immediately enhancing rescue authorities ability to respond to maritime emergencies in their areas of responsibility. On December 4 there were 3,543 vessels on the Amver plot available to divert and assist around the world. Imagine, over 3,000 additional life saving resources sailing the world's oceans.

So far this year 194 lives have been saved by Amver participating ships. International rescue coordination centers continue to utilize the online Amver surface picture request form to get the information necessary to divert vessels in their own search and rescue regions. In fact, the first people saved by the enhanced Amver surface picture request happened to be a couple that own a small cafe down the road from MRCC Falmouth; the same coordination center that requested in information!

Amver's benefits reach beyond the obvious lives saved. The operating costs of United States Coast Guard surface and air assets commonly used in blue water search and rescue missions exceed $10,000 an hour. Imagine a case well off the Atlantic or Pacific coasts lasting over 10 hours. By maximizing the use of Amver participants, in lieu of United States Coast Guard assets, the savings can quickly exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars. Multiply the savings by the 159 Amver cases this year and Amver becomes a significant cost saver allowing limited Coast Guard resources to focus on other missions.

While pundits may question the continued relevance of Amver as new vessel tracking technologies emerge, Amver remains ready to provide immediate search and rescue data. There are currently no plans to discontinue the Amver system in light of these new technologies. Commercial ships, recognizing the importance of Amver, continue to enroll in Amver at a rate of over 100 per month.

The United States Coast Guard, and its sister services around the world, will continue to face the challenge of having limited resources to manage many missions. Continuing to use the Amver system will help lighten the load ensuring no call for help goes unanswered.

No comments: