Stories of heroism on the seas abound. Seafarers going to extraordinary lengths to aid their own, ships diverting their course in order to rescue “those in peril on the sea.” On May 23 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) and IHS Fairplay will be hosting a dinner to commemorate National Maritime Day, which is held on May 22 to honor merchant mariners. At this dinner, the 2010 Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) award recipients will receive recognition for their service from Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, and Coast Guard Commandant Robert Papp. The evening begins at 6:00 p.m. with a reception.
The genesis of the AMVER system ultimately finds its roots in the RMS TITANIC disaster in 1912. Ships passing within sight of the ill-fated passenger liner were unaware that it had hit an iceberg and was sinking. However, the resultant idea of a ship-reporting system that could identify other ships in the area of a ship in distress, which could then be sent to its assistance, would not become a reality until the advent of computer technology. As late as the mid-twentieth century, the world’s commercial shipping fleet and burgeoning air transport system lacked an available full-time, global emergency reporting system. On April 15, 1958, the United States Coast Guard and commercial shipping representatives began discussions that led to the creation of AMVER.
“National Maritime Day is a wonderful opportunity to recognize our merchant mariners and their tireless efforts to facilitate world trade while preserving safety at sea”, observed Clay Maitland, NAMEPA founding chairman and dinner chairman. “AMVER is a voluntary program where commercial implications are set aside to preserve safety of life at sea. This is a maritime ‘good news’ story that should make its way into the mainstream consciousness of our global society.”
This year, 535 ships from 77 companies will receive recognition awards presented by Admiral Robert Papp, Commandant of the USCG, for volunteering to aid distressed vessels during 2010. Companies being recognized include Overseas Shipholding Group, APL Maritime, Maersk, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Roymar Ship Management, Eagle Bulk Shipping, Wilhelmsen Shipping, CSL International, Crowley, Chevron Shipping, Sea River Maritime, Carnival Corporation, BLT Chembulk, Genco, Edison Chouest, Horizon Lines, Interocean American Shipping, Laurin Maritime, NCL, Matson, Seabulk and Seacor, and Teekay Shipping.
The evening is also being sponsored by the International Propeller Club, Blank Rome Maritime, Chamber of Shipping of America, Clay Maitland, Det Norske Veritas, Sea Research Foundation, TBS, and Torm. The cost to attend the dinner is $250 or $2500 for a table.
For more information on reserving a spot, CLICK HERE.
Photo: In 2006, AMVER participating ship M/V Anthemis rescued 4 in a sailboat taking on water, 400 miles off the Virgina Coast. Credit Amver