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Applied Weather Technology Guides Mercy Ships with Latest BVS Marine Voyage Optimization Software
Date:3/16/2009

Mercy Ships' Crew Uses BVS 5.6 Onboard Software to Navigate the Safest, Most Fuel-Efficient Route and Protect Sensitive Medical Equipment as They Bring Hope, Healing and Hospital Services to the World's Poor

Sunnyvale, Calif. (Vocus) March 16, 2009 -- Applied Weather Technology (AWT) today announced that Mercy Ships, the leader in using hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services to the poor, recently used the latest version of AWT's BonVoyage System (BVS) to help the Africa Mercy navigate the safest and most fuel-efficient course while en route to the ship's current assignment in Benin, West Africa. AWT first began donating the BVS graphical marine voyage optimization system to Mercy Ships in 2000, and since that time has continued to provide Mercy Ships with complimentary data, system upgrades and support.

Mercy Ships' Captains and navigation crew use BVS to check weather and sea conditions to help ensure crew and vessel safety, and prevent encounters with inclement weather that could damage sensitive medical equipment on board. Mercy Ships serves the urgent surgical needs of the world's forgotten poor and has performed more than 41,000 life-changing operations since 1978.

"Hospital equipment is highly susceptible to damage. We're loaded with a CT scanner and X-ray machines that are not designed for being bounced around," said Captain Tim Tretheway, Master of the Africa Mercy, the world's largest non-governmental hospital ship. "We use BVS to find the routes with the most moderate conditions and then we'll take those routes. It's simple to check conditions ahead. You flip on the flat screen with BVS and it's easy to get a complete, real time picture of the weather by simply moving the mouse over a specific location. In addition to wind, pressure and sea conditions, we highly value the NCOM current data. In my experience, we have had fewer problems due to inclement weather because there has been more and better weather information available to us thanks to AWT."

"The biggest advantage of BVS for Mercy Ships is definitely crew, vessel and medical equipment safety," said Jon Fadely, current Marine Operations Director and former Mercy Ships Captain, who used BVS for several years aboard the Caribbean Mercy, one of the Mercy Ships that is now retired. "We sought out BVS because we were looking for a way to stay better advised of weather, particularly during hurricane season. BVS has a wonderful way of turning words into pictures, and the data comes to us independent from the Internet, which is important because Internet communications on board ships can be unreliable and expensive."

On board the Africa Mercy, which arrived in February for a 10-month assignment in the West African country of Benin where four thousand people recently lined up at the ship with hopes of receiving medical help, Captain Tretheway uses BVS to check the weather conditions and alert the medical staff to potential for swaying or motion on the ship while in port.

"The eye surgeons are the ones I worry about - they look through microscopes while doing surgery, so bumping at the dock would be a concern," said Captain Tretheway.

Captain Tretheway also uses BVS to evaluate potential future voyages under consideration by Mercy Ships' management and conduct planning as part of preparations before the ship is deployed to a new location.

"It is an honor for us to partner with Mercy Ships. We are deeply gratified that Mercy Ships benefits from using BVS. It's rewarding and motivating to know that BVS plays a supporting role in helping Mercy Ships Captains and crew, doctors and volunteers who are doing so much to save and improve the lives of so many," said Skip Vaccarello, president and CEO of AWT.

About BonVoyage System

More than 3000 vessels from many companies use BVS to help identify the safest, most time-efficient or fuel-efficient routes. BVS is an icon-driven graphical marine voyage optimization system that provides ship Captains with onboard and around-the-clock weather-routing information. One of the key differentiators between BVS and competing solutions is that BVS not only delivers weather forecasts, but also creates custom and optimal routes for ship Captains based on data from weather as well as waves, currents, cargo and vessel specifications.

AWT recently announced the latest update to BVS, Version 5.6, which now provides Captains with advance warning about threats of severe rolling due to resonance, and integrates the latest technology used to determine ocean currents by offering forecast, real time Naval Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM) current data. For more information about BVS, please visit http://www.awtworldwide.com/products/bon-voyage-system.asp.

About AWT

AWT (www.awtworldwide.com) is the leading provider of fleet optimization services and onboard voyage management software to ship owners, operators and charterers seeking the safest and most efficient routes for their fleets. Unlike companies that provide weather services for multiple industries, or companies which only offer onboard weather software, AWT is staffed by world-renowned experts in ship routing, meteorology, IT, maritime science and former ship captains who are focused solely on the maritime industry. Using the most sophisticated technology available, AWT routes more ships per month than any other company. Its superior customer service and integrity have made AWT the most trusted fleet optimization provider in the maritime industry. Founded in 1996, AWT is privately held and headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with worldwide offices located in the UK, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Korea, Germany, New York, and New Jersey. More information is available at www.awtworldwide.com or by calling 1-408-731-8600.

About Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships (www.mercyships.org) is the leader in using hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services to the poor. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the poor in developing nations. Over the past 30 years, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $670 million, directly impacting more than 1.9 million people. More than 850 crew worldwide, representing more than 35 nations, are joined each year by hundreds of short-term volunteers. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, community developers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. For more information, click on www.mercyships.org. Hi-res photos and general Mercy Ships broadcast footage clips are available for download at www.mercyshipsnews.org or upon request.

All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

AWT Media Contact:
Cynthia Harris
PR Strategy Group for AWT
650-520-8343
charris(at)prstrategygroup.com

Mercy Ships Media Contacts:
Diane Rickard
International Public Relations Director
+44 1438-727-800 (UK)
rickardd(at)mercyships.org

Pauline Rick
U.S. Director of Public Relations
903-939-7649
rickp(at)mercyships.org

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Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/Weather_Technology/Hospital_Ship/prweb2233964.htm.


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