Superyachts join rescue mission to Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian

Mike Stones
By Mike Stones September 9, 2019 11:50

Superyachts join rescue mission to Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian

YachtAid Global offers “consultation for superyachts owners who want to contribute to the world around them”.

Superyachts are joining the rescue mission to bring aid to the Bahamas, after Hurricane Dorian devastated the islands and killed at least 43 people. However, charity YachtAid Global has urged luxury yacht owners to be cautious about how they lend  support.

Speaking exclusively to Superyacht Investor, Captain Mark Drewelow, the charity’s founder and executive director, confirmed that the luxury yacht Loon arrived in Marsh Harbor in the Abaco Islands, part of the Bahamas chain of islands, shortly after the hurricane had left the immediate area.

“Aboard the Loon are 12 members of the GSD Dart – a disaster assistance response team. The boat carried urgent cargo, such as first-aid equipment, medicine, water and food,” said Drewelow.

After unloading its essential supplies, the 47.24-metre Loon joined the search and rescue mission; known as Operation Topaz. The vessel is currently identifying critical medical cases, co-ordinating medevac flights and using its satcoms (satellite communications) to transmit images and video pictures to the rescue authorities who need them.

Unloading essential supplies

Loon is acting as a self-contained mobile forward operating platform… [so as not to deflect resources from] the international support system to help the people of the Bahamas,” said Drewelow.

He urged boat owners to be cautious about how they supported the relief effort. “Boat owners should not think they are going to load up stuff and go to Abacos and Grand Bahamas and drop it off,” Drewelow told Superyacht Investor.

“We have a precise approach based on three pillars of this sort of work. They are: the right aid, to the right people at the right time. Achieving all of this is very challenging and is based on getting needs assessments out of ground zero.”

But he advised boat owners to contact YachtAid Global (YAG) if they wished to offer their vessel. “We can then look at a precise tasking for the boat,” he said.

Alternatively, owners and others could donate money to the appeal. “It is not smart to donate kind stuff [luxury items]. It is smart to donate money because it can be used right now today. It is easy to move, easy to document and goes where it is needed most.”

‘It is smart to donate money’

Other superyachts have pledged support for the relief effort set up by YAG in collaboration with home and building supplier CBS Bahamas, Sol Relief, World Hope International and the Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

YAG provides humanitarian aid, conservation, and disaster response leadership. Its work includes global programmes, logistics management and “consultation for superyachts that want to contribute to the world around them”.

Meanwhile, the current death toll which stands of 43 is expected to rise significantly; since thousands of people are missing. Bahamas health minister Duane Sands told local radio: “Let me say that I believe the number will be staggering. Make no bones about it, the numbers are going to be far higher than 23 [the death toll as he spoke]. It is going to be significantly higher than that. The public needs to prepare for unimaginable information…”

United Nations officials predicted about 70,000 people were in need of assistance.

Hurricane Dorian struck islands in the north-west Bahamas as a category five hurricane, with winds reaching 185 mph. The hurricane subsequently skirted the US coastline, after fears that it would cause further devastation on the mainland.

Captain Mark Drewelow: “It’s smart to donate money …[to Operation Topaz]”.

Mike Stones
By Mike Stones September 9, 2019 11:50
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