Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ships failed to respond?

Lloyd's List recently reported that several ships failed to respond to a distress call from a ship sinking in the English Channel December, 2009. While this is disturbing news, it underscores the need for, and use of, the Amver system by both shipowners and rescue coordination centers.

According to the Lloyd's List report at least one fisherman died as a result of the distress debacle. How could Amver have played a more pivotal role in this case?
  1. Rescue coordination centers who routinely request Amver data from the United States Coast Guard are given an additional tool when managing search and rescue cases. If you are a rescue authority and don't know how to request Amver data please read this.
  2. Ship owners enrolled and actively reporting to the Amver system know they will only be called upon to assist during actual search and rescue emergencies and then only after rescue authorities have determined the best vessel to respond.
  3. Masters and crews have the added benefit of knowing that they can be released from their obligation to respond when enrolled and reporting in the Amver system. Having an email from a rescue authority stating your ship is either not needed or released from searching should be welcome relief in cases such as the Channel incident.
Don't think you can hide from incidents like this. While Amver doesn't release vessel movement information except for maritime incidents, Lloyd's List reported they were able to piece together what ships were in the vicinity of the distress using AIS data. Food for thought the next time you hear a distress and think you might just as well ignore it. People are watching!

You can read the full Marine Accident Investigation Board (MAIB) report here.

Why not help avoid situations like this in the future. If you are a ship owner, enroll in Amver today. If you are a rescue authority, consider requesting Amver data as part of your standard operation procedure. After all, it's our collective responsibility to ensure no call for help goes unanswered.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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