Maritime security company AdvanFort announced Wednesday that it has volunteered for service in the piracy-infested waters in and around the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean as part of the U.S. Coast Guard-coordinated Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System (Amver), whose members assist any nearby vessel in distress.
The AdvanFort fleet which has vessels strategically positioned in key sea lanes surrounding the High Risk Area (HRA), is now “on plot” in the official USCG program, a computer-based voluntary global ship reporting system that is used by search and rescue authorities around the world to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.
“AdvanFort helps ensure no call for help goes unanswered even in the most dangerous waters," said Benjamin M. Strong, director of Amver Maritime Relations at the Coast Guard, in a statement about the unique voluntary alliance with one of the leading private maritime security companies. "The high risk waters of the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea make search and rescue cases challenging to manage,” Strong noted. “AdvanFort's participation in Amver gives search and rescue authorities new, specialized vessels to assist them in managing maritime emergencies.”
"The management of AdvanFort as well as the captains and crews of our fleet of vessels are pleased and honored to now be enrolled in the Amver program,” added AdvanFort President William H. Watson. “With vessels strategically located at the perimeter of the High Risk Area for piracy, our vessels are uniquely positioned to assist in Search And Rescue (SAR) missions should any other nearby vessel require assistance.” Captain Watson added: “Since our vessels also house our off-duty PCASP (Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel) teams, we will also be in a position to protect a distressed and vulnerable vessel from attack by pirates or other seagoing criminals who might seek to capitalize on their situation."
Any commercial vessel of more than 1,000 gross tons that are on voyages of 24 hours or more, regardless of nation or flag, ought to enroll and participate in the Amver program, the AdvanFort president pointed out.
Due to participating merchant vessels regularly reporting their position, those ships near a position of distress are more readily identified, and thus rescue coordinators are able to compress the search area in cases where a participant vessel is unreported or overdue.
By identifying those vessels best positioned to respond to distress calls, other vessels are able to continue their voyage—having met those obligations set down in international law—thus saving fuel, time and cost of payrolls.