In conjunction with the U.S. Embassy here, U.S. Coast Guard officials recognized more than 434 ships from 51 Singapore-based companies at an official ceremony celebrating their work in maintaining safety of life at sea.
At a ceremony at the Marina Mandarin Hotel Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008, the commanding officer of the Coast Guard's Activities Far East (FEACT) unit, and other Coast Guardsmen, paid tribute to the crews and shipping companies for their participation in the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) System last year.
Under the AMVER system, vessels are sometimes called upon by the U.S. Coast Guard -- and other lifesaving organizations around the world -- to render assistance in search and rescue cases hundreds, or even thousands of miles from the nearest responders.
Every year, AMVER vessels respond in situations when it would have taken hours, or even days, for professional rescuers to respond.
The AMVER system is a voluntary ship reporting system used by search and rescue authorities worldwide to assist persons in distress on the high seas. Search and rescue coordinators, using AMVER plot information, contact ships in an area of distress and ask them to render assistance.
AMVER was established in 1958 to quickly provide search and rescue authorities with accurate, on-demand information on the positions and characteristics of vessels near a reported distress. AMVER has directly assisted in saving thousands of lives, including 450 in 2007.
The Singapore ceremony Nov. 13 also celebrated AMVER's 50th anniversary.
Ships participating in AMVER are recognized based on the number of days per year they appear on AMVER's plot as well as for consecutive years of participation. Awards were presented to ships with a single year's participation, as well as ships with five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 consecutive years of participation.
U.S. Coast Guard Activites Far East is headquartered in Tokyo with offices in Singapore and Seoul, and is a multi-mission unit responsible for international port security, maritime safety and engagement throughout a 41-nation Asia-Pacific region.
(Source: U.S. Coast Guard)