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Amver Does it again - Daring Rescue of Lone Sailor

by Benjamin Strong on 16 Oct 2008
Amateur photo taken from the Vecchio Bridge .. .
A 23-year-old Florida man was rescued by an Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) system participating container ship as the sailor's boat was in distress 700 miles off the coast of San Diego, California last Friday.

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.


The lone sailor, on a journey aboard his 41 foot sloop from San Diego to Hawaii, lost all steering in a storm and was in danger of capsizing. He quickly notified HAM radio operators of his situation and activated his emergency radio beacon. The HAM radio operators passed the distress information along to the United States Coast Guard Eleventh District Rescue Coordination Center.

Coast Guard rescue personnel launched a C-130 aircraft from Air Station Sacramento and queried the Amver system to divert the Panamanian flagged container ship Vecchio Bridge, which was only four hours away from the stricken yachtsman.

Battling 35-knot winds and 25-foot seas the captain of the Vecchio Bridge, managed by the Fukujin Kisen Company of Japan, maneuvered his ship alongside the nearly capsized sailboat to bring the sailor onboard.

The survivor will be assisted by United States Department of State personnel when he arrives in Shanghai, China on October 21.


The Vecchio Bridge has been enrolled in the Amver system since 2006 and has earned two awards for participation. This was its first rescue.

With Amver, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. Prior to sailing, participating ships send a sail plan to the Amver computer center. Vessels then report every 48 hours 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 given day there are over 3,300 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.

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