AMVER to the rescue - two Canadian sailors rescued off Bermuda

SMT Bontrup to the rescue - cruising sailors in an emergency often depend on volunteer AMVER ships
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AMVER (The Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System) is at it again. Two Canadian sailors are safely aboard the Amver participating ship SMT Bontrup after requiring medical evacuation from their 34 foot sloop 260 miles northwest of Bermuda this week.

The sailboat Chessa was headed towards Bermuda when one of the 65 year old Canadian sailors became ill. His partner contacted U.S. Coast Guard rescue authorities in Norfolk, Va. requesting assistance. 'He passed out,' stated the yachtsman about his sailing companion, 'and a strong front is coming over and we are in the low.'

The SMT Bontrup, a 656 foot bulk carrier, was sailing from Maracaibo, Venezuela when they were contacted by Coast Guard rescue personnel about the distress. Captain Krzysztof Szwed immediately agreed to divert and assist the sailors.

Three hours after the initial notification, Captain Szwed had the Bahamian Island flagged ship alongside the sloop and began hoisting the sailors aboard. 'The first survivor was lifted on board because he could not walk on his legs,' the Captain said in an email update to the Coast Guard, 'the ship's crew is keeping a vigil by the survivor's cabin.'

After a meal aboard the ship both survivors were feeling better and able to contact their families by satellite phone.

The SMT Bontrup is sailing to Portland, Maine where the survivors will be met by Customs officials. The SMT Bontrup, managed by SMT Ship Management and Transport of Limassol, Cyprus, enrolled in Amver on January 1, 1979 and has earned 22 Amver awards for participation.

About AMVER:
AMVER is a worldwide voluntary reporting system sponsored by the United States Coast Guard. It is a computer-based global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. Participating in AMVER does not put ships under any additional obligation to assist in search and rescue efforts, beyond that which is required under international law.