The US Coast Guard has recognised 29 SCF Group vessels for their participation in the AMVER (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) programme which facilitates the rapid engagement of merchant ships in rescue operations at sea.
At the award ceremony, SCF Group was represented by Oleg Kalinin, Fleet Director of SCF Management Services (Cyprus). He commented:
“Our company has actively participated in AMVER for some time now and a large number of our vessels have been involved. This is the most important international system of mutual assistance at sea, which unites people of different nationalities in saving seafarers in distress. We simply could not ignore the initiative; this encapsulates the real brotherhood of the sea.”
Benjamin M. Strong, Director of AMVER Maritime Relations, congratulated SCF Group on the behalf of the Commandant of the US Coast Guard:
“Your vessels contributed to another record breaking year at AMVER and we are thankful for your active participation. Ships from your company joined those from hundreds of nations in providing a worldwide safety network to assist search and rescue coordinators in responding to emergencies at sea. 9,067 vessels achieved at least 128 days “on plot” contributing to 432 lives saved in 2015. Whether your ship is a new participant or has been active for many years you should take pride in the voluntary commitment of your officers and crews to the safety of life at sea.”
Launched in 1958 and sponsored by the US Coast Guard, AMVER is a computer-based voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. Prior to sailing, participating ships send a voyage plan to the AMVER computer centre. Vessels then report their locations every 48 hours until arriving at their port of call. In an emergency, any rescue coordination centre can request to determine the relative position of AMVER ships near the distress location, and divert the best suited ship or ships to respond. Any commercial vessel, regardless of nation or flag, can enroll in the programme. AMVER specifically encourages the participation of vessels over 1,000 gross tons on voyages of 24 hours or greater.
SCF vessels have a long story of helping fellow seafarers in distress and often undertake fully-fledged rescue operations on their own. In November 2016, SCF tanker Leonid Loza saved ten fishermen from the fishing trawler Baraka found in distress near the west coast of Africa. In September 2014, the SCF tanker Krasnodar rescued six yachtsmen who were adrift near the coast of Brazil after their trimaran was damaged and capsized in rough seas. In December 2010, SCF’s vessel Dobrynya rescued nine fishermen in the Gulf of Finland after they were carried away to the open sea on an ice floe that broke away from the shore. In August 2008, the tanker SCF Khibiny saved 13 people from an Indonesian bulker sunken in the Straits of Malacca. In June 2007, the LPG carrier SCF Tomsk rescued 41 people stranded in the Atlantic Ocean some 500 miles off the coast of the Cape Verde Islands, who were aboard for two weeks and had gone without food and water for several days.