AMVER ship rescues distressed sailors in North Atlantic

(PORTSMOUTH, Va.) — The U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritans aboard a sailing vessel and two commercial vessels rescued two adults and two young children from their sailboat approximately 1,105 miles northeast of Bermuda on Tuesday.

The Coast Guard 5th District Command Center received an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) alert and a relay call for assistance from the French-flagged Le Chercheur, traveling from Saint Maarten to the Azores. The sailors felt seasick, fatigued and were concerned about incoming weather.

The command center conducted an Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) surface picture to determine the closest vessels to the distress location. The center contacted two AMVER vessels, the tankers Antarctic and Overseas Santorini, that diverted to assist the sailors. The sailing vessel El Areo was also in the area and diverted to render assistance.

The chemical/oil products tanker Overseas Santorini. photo

Overseas Santorini located the four individuals and embarked them shortly before the sailboat began listing and taking on water.

“The sea can be dangerous and unpredictable,” said Matthew Brooks, the 5th District search and rescue mission coordinator. “We always recommend mariners ensure they are as prepared as possible, especially for a long journey with children. It is fortunate we were able to locate their vessel so quickly, considering how far from shore they were. AMVER is a useful system and tool for providing additional measures of safety by covering a wider and farther search area.”

The two adults and two children, ages 5 and 8, are being taken to Algeciras, Spain, and reportedly suffered minor injuries.

AMVER is a worldwide voluntary reporting system sponsored by the Coast Guard. It is a computer-based, global ship-reporting system used by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to people in distress at sea.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller