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Southern Spars - North Technology

AMVER to the rescue - again - of four sailors

by US Coast Guard/Sail-World Cruising on 14 May 2013
AMVER rescue - sailor can be seen waving to rescuers from his dismasted yacht .. .
This grainy night photo shows a sailor in his dismasted yacht waving to rescuers during a rescue which, thanks to AMVER, was carried out by a combination of the US Coast Guard and a good Samaritan crew.

The rescue of four Canadian sailors took place 350 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massechusetts, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Sunday. According to the Coast Guard, weather on scene was 10-foot seas with 15-to-20 knot winds. Water temperature was 46 degrees and air temperature was 51 degrees.

The Romarin II had been chartered and was enroute to Quebec, Canada from the Caribbean when it became dismasted and disabled.

Watchstanders from the first Coast Guard District command center in Boston were notified at approximately 5:20 p.m. Sunday of a distress call from a 406 MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon registered to the Romarin II. The Coast Guard verified the registration with the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and contacted the vessel's owner.

A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., HU-25 Falcon jet crew immediately launched and located the Romarin II. The falcon crew dropped a self-locating datum marker buoy and radio to the crew, but was unable to establish communications.

The Coast Guard contacted the 'Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System' (AMVER) vessels in the area to assist. The 1,105-foot motor vessel MSC Chicago was approximately 30 miles away and responded.

The MSC Chicago arrived on scene at 9:30 p.m. and safely rescued the four sailors. The sailors will be obliged to continue to the MSC Chicago's next port-of-call in Gioia Taruo, Italy, instead of Quebec where they were headed. Having feared for their lives, there is no doubt that they won't mind the detour.

AMVER: how it works so well:
'The AMVER program is an excellent example of the strong partnerships between the commercial shipping community and the Coast Guard,' said Benjamin Strong, director of AMVER Maritime Relations. 'AMVER participating ships rescue, on average, one person every day and the crew of the MSC Chicago lived up to the motto of the AMVER system 'That no call for help shall go unanswered.'

AMVER, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.

With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. Vessels send periodic position reports to the AMVER center until arriving at their port of call. This data is able to project the position of each ship at any point during its voyage. In an emergency, any rescue coordination center can request this data to determine the relative position of AMVER ships near the distress location. On any day there are over 5,000 ships available to carry out search and rescue services. Visit http://www.amver.com to learn more about this unique worldwide search and rescue system.

The First Coast Guard District involved in this rescue covers from New Jersey to Canada with search and rescue duties extending approximately 1,300 miles from shore. Units across the Northeast conduct more than 2,500 search and rescue cases in a year, and rescue more than 300 people.
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