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Fleet of Taiwanese ships joins maritime aid pact led by US Coast Guard

'AMVER Taiwan Team' fleet of private vessels formally joins mutual assistance pact

Taiwan's official entry into US-led AMVER pact celebrated at Taipei 101, Nov. 8.

Taiwan's official entry into US-led AMVER pact celebrated at Taipei 101, Nov. 8. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Ocean Affairs Council (OAC) announced Wednesday (Nov. 8) that the country will join a maritime pact led by the United States Coast Guard to improve the safety of vessels operating throughout the world.

According to an OAC press release, a fleet of 155 private Taiwanese ships will join the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) program, an international network of shipping and fishing companies. The AMVER pact is designed to assist in emergency rescue for ships that encounter difficulty at sea.

A ceremony to celebrate the new partnership was held on Wednesday at Taipei 101. It was attended by Premier Chen Chien-ren (陳建仁), Director of the American Institute in Taiwan Sandra Oudkirk, and OAC Director Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲).

The Taiwanese vessels joining the AMVER network have been named the “AMVER Taiwan Team.” The new partnership is expected to improve safety and communication capacity for crews working on Taiwan’s long-haul fishing vessels operating throughout the world.

Speaking at the event, Premier Chen said the event's date and inauguration of the AMVER partnership, Nov. 8, was specially chosen. The number “118” is the distress call number for those seeking assistance from the Taiwan Coast Guard, and the system has been in place since 2001.

In his remarks, Chen expressed his gratitude to Taiwan's Coast Guard, which remains vigilant 24 hours a day protecting Taiwan and helping those in need near Taiwan's shores. Chen said that Taiwan's participation in the AMVER pact perfectly embodies the spirit of "Taiwan can help. Taiwan is Helping," and will further contribute to the strong cooperative relationship between Taiwan and the U.S.

The AMVER pact will further complement Taiwan’s commitment to facilitating cooperation between government and private enterprises operating at sea.

Director Oudkirk told attendees that the AMVER program was first formed in 1958. Since then, the AMVER network has grown to encompass over 22,000 vessels, all willing to lend a hand when it comes to search and rescue operations at sea.