Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Andrew James Schofer
Chargé d’Affaires Andrew James Schofer’s Remarks at AMVER Awards Ceremony
October 18, 2011
(As prepared for delivery)
Thank you, Cpt. Adami. Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Let me start by thanking our hosts for the evening – the Cyprus Shipping Chamber – for kindly having us, and also for their continued support and cooperation over the years. Thanks also to the Cyprus Marine Environment Protection Association (CYMEPA) for their steadfast support to AMVER.
We are here today to recognize and honor a group of heroes, mariners who have made themselves available to assist anyone in distress on the high seas. These heroes are participants in the United States Coast Guard’s worldwide search and rescue program, AMVER. From its inception in 1958, AMVER has provided more than 50 years of search and rescue services around the world. AMVER, however, is more than vessels and computers. AMVER is the sweat and toil of the mariners dedicated to saving lives at sea. When owners, companies, and crews voluntarily agree to participate in the AMVER system, they renew their dedication to ensure no call for help goes unanswered. It doesn’t matter if the survivor is another crewman from a merchant ship in distress, a yachtsman beset by weather problems miles from shore, or a migrant trying to leave one country for a better life elsewhere.
AMVER is a force multiplier. As more and more people take to the water, it is impossible for nations to have resources available to rescue all who find themselves in peril. AMVER helps ensure there is a watchful eye, a helping hand, a light in the dark for anyone in distress at sea.
Today, over 22,000 ships from over one hundred nations participate in AMVER. On average, 4,000 ships are on the AMVER plot each day, and those numbers continue to increase. The AMVER Center computer receives over 14,000 AMVER messages a day. Since 2000, over 2,800 lives have been saved by AMVER-participating ships. During 2010 alone, AMVER ships helped rescue 265 people in 330 reported cases. The success of AMVER is directly related to the extraordinary cooperation between ships, companies, SAR authorities, communication service providers and governments in supporting this international humanitarian program to protect life and property at sea.
We have a solemn responsibility to help those in need. As AMVER participation grows, there is nowhere at sea that mariners cannot be assisted. The value of AMVER participation is obvious. Just ask the parents of the 64 Canadian school children who were dramatically saved last February off the coast of Brazil. Or ask the loved ones of two recreational sailors whose rudder was damaged off the coast of Florida three months ago; they were helped by a Greek tanker and the U.S. Coast Guard in a joint rescue effort.
The mariners who carry out AMVER missions deserve our thanks and admiration. The companies that urge their ships' participation deserve our thanks. Let these AMVER participants set the example for the rest of the shipping community so that no call for help goes unanswered.
Let us now proceed with the main part of the ceremony and hand out the much-deserved awards to the representatives of ships participating in the AMVER program. Let me note that, in order to be eligible for an award, a ship has to stay on the AMVER plot for a minimum of 128 days per year. The awards consist of a Letter of Appreciation to the company, a Certificate of Merit to each ship, and a colored AMVER pennant, representing a ship's continuous participation in the program: blue for (1) year; gold for (5) years; purple for (10) years. A distinctive plaque is presented for (15) years, an engraved pewter plate for (20) years, and a globe award for (25) years.
This year, we have awards for a total of 16 shipping companies, representing a combined total of 127 ships. This means that Cyprus ranks 11th from the top globally in terms of the number of AMVER awards won by flag state, which is roughly commensurate with Cyprus' global ranking in terms of gross tonnage.
So, without further ado, let me read out the names of the award-winning companies, in alphabetical order, and call on their representatives to kindly step forward to receive their award:
AMVER 2010 Award Winners' List
- Athena Marine
- Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Cyprus)
- Columbia Shipmanagement
- Cyprus Maritime Co
- Donnelly Tanker Management
- FML Ship Management
- Interorient Marine Services
- Intership Navigation
- Maestro Ship Management
- Marlow Navigation
- MSC Shipmanagement
- Reederei "NORD" Klaus E. Oldendorff
- Sinano Ship Management
- SMT Ship Management
- Unicom Management Services (Cyprus)
Total: 127 awards
Thank you to all of you – a big round of applause to all. Let me close by saying that some ship management companies which are based in Cyprus and have ships enrolled in the AMVER program, but whose ownership company is in another country, may receive their awards in that country. So, if you have a ship that is eligible for an award and you did not hear your name tonight, please rest assured that it will receive the recognition it deserves in the country of ownership.
With that, let me, once again, thank all participants and encourage more managers and owners to join AMVER!