Friday, January 13, 2012

Amver ship sinks, sparking second largest search and rescue mission in Amver's 53 year history

The sinking of the Vietnamese ship Vinalines Queen on Christmas Day, 2011 started a large scale international Amver search and rescue effort not seen since the sinking of the Salvador Allende in 1994.

"We received a distress alert message from the Vinalines Queen at midnight on December 25, 2011," said Mr. Nguyen Anh Vu, General Director of the Vietnam Rescue Coordination Center. "We have carried out search and rescue operations with Taiwan Rescue Coordination Center, Philippine Coast Guard, Japanese Coast Guard, and U.S. Coast Guard rescue authorities in Hawaii,"  Vu added. The U.S. Coast Guard provided Amver information to Vietnam to assist in the search. The Vinalines Queen was carrying nickel ore from Indonesia to China with a crew of 23 when it sank.

"This is the largest search effort since 32 ships were diverted to assist the Ukrainian cargo ship Salvador Allende which sank on December 10, 1994 850 miles northeast of Bermuda," said Benjamin Strong, Director of the U.S. Coast Guard Amver Center in New York City. "Amver takes its history from the Titanic sinking 100 years ago," Strong added, "We are proud that so many ships agreed to divert, ensuring no call for help goes unanswered."

On December 30, 2011 the aptly named Amver participant London Courage found a drifting life raft and rescued Da Ngoc Hung, the only survivor from the Vinalines Queen. An additional 20 Amver ships from 12 different nations participated in the search for the remaining crewmembers. Vietnamese news reports Hung is unhurt and has returned home.

Amver participants from Japan, Monaco, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Norway, Greece, Germany, United States of America, Great Britain, Malta, and Hong Kong have searched unsuccessfully for the remaining 22 crewmen.

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Photo credit: Fotolia

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