Costas Kontes (pictured above - front row, fourth from the right), general manager of V.Group’s ship management operations in Greece and general secretary of the International Propeller Club of the United States Port of Piraeus gave the keynote speech at this year’s Amver awards ceremony.
The event coincided with the club’s 80th anniversary and was attended by Vice Admiral Charles Ray of the United States of America Coast Guard (USCG), US Ambassador, Geff Pyatt as well as local politicians and more than 230 shipping companies.
During the event, 220 companies were recognised for their contribution, including V.Group’s Greek ship management operations, which received an Amver award for the fleet of 25 vessels participating in the Amver system.
Costas’ message was one of reinforcement of the important role the Amver system has played and still plays in saving lives at sea. He reminded guests of the origins following the RMS Titanic tragedy in 1912. Ships passing within sight of the stricken vessel were unaware she had hit an iceberg and was sinking. Upon later investigation, those who had seen the distress flares thought they were part of her maiden voyage celebrations.
This tragic event would eventually fuel the creation of a full-time, global emergency reporting system. On 18 July 1958 the Amver System, which was at that time known as the Atlantic Merchant Vessel Emergency Reporting System began as an experiment in the North Atlantic Ocean. The call was made for commercial vessels over 1,000gt of all flag states making a voyage of more than 24 hours to voluntarily become Amver participants.
“During 2015 there were on average more than 8,000 vessels per day participating in the Amver system, with 1,000 of those participating in search and rescue missions,” Costas told delegates. “There are over 1,600 Greek flagged vessels supporting the system an increase of 100 compared to the previous year.”
In Greece, the International Propeller Club has undertaken a commitment to promote the Amver System since 1994 among the Greek shipping community and continues to do so. “We have been actively supporting our industry, our society and inspire our members to do the same, supporting the next generation and lead by example,” concluded Costas.