International Conservation Group Distributes Aid Post-Hurricane Dorian to Abacos Islands and Remote Cays
“I was on the roof…then the roof started shaking and I was in the water inside the house… afraid because of shark water…I had to hold on to a fig tree for 12 or 13 hours,” adding “my friend who is 70 years old asked a couple of times to just let him go. I didn’t want to let him go,” Darren Cooper, Hurricane Dorian Survivor.
Sea Shepherd volunteers have been on the ground in Freeport, Crown Haven, Little Abaco and Sweetings Cay conducting Operation Good Pirates of the Caribbean, providing aid to areas hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian. The marine conservation organization’s patrol vessel, the M/V John Paul DeJoria, has been granted a 30-day permit to distribute aid to remote areas of the country affected by the storm.
Having loaded 30,000 lbs. of critical relief supplies in Miami into the early hours of September 9th, the vessel cleared into the Bahamas on the 10th of September. Crews have since been supplying aid by small boat transfer to remote settlements along the Abaco Bight in the North East of the Bahamas, including Crown Haven on Little Abaco on the 11th and Sweetings Cay and Moores Island on September 12th,with air support provided by Tropic Ocean Airways.
Sea Shepherd supplied gasoline to local vessels, enabling local skiffs to reach the MV John Paul De Joria at anchor and stock up with boxes of relief supplies, creating a lifeline to settlements cut off from the Grand Bahama Highway, due to bridges being washed away.
On September 13th, due to the threat of Hurricane Humberto, Sea Shepherd temporarily suspended outer island aid transfer operations, with the ship docking in Freeport to offload medical supplies for the Rand Memorial Hospital, ahead of the second storm in as many weeks to threaten the low-lying island nation.
Captain Locky Maclean, Director of Campaigns at Sea Shepherd, then sailed the MV John Paul de Joria from Freeport to Nassau to duck south of the developing storm and rendezvous with GlobalMedic and Air Canada Cargo on Sunday the 15th, loading aid flown in from Toronto. Captain MacLean stated, “There are many issues affecting our oceans, and climate change, which influences the frequency and intensity of hurricanes like Dorian, is one of them.” He added, “We are now entering the recovery phase of Dorian and Bahamians want to get on with their lives. Sea level surge during Dorian impacted people across Grand Bahama and the Abacos, delivering Rainfresh clean water filtration units to villages and GlobalMedic home water filter bucket kits will allow outer island residents access to safe water for up to 12 months.”
Sea Shepherd established Operation Good Pirates of the Caribbean in September 2017 to bring humanitarian relief supplies to Dominica, the British Virgin Islands, and Antigua and Barbuda after hurricanes Irma and Maria. “In 2017, we reached the shores of Dominica a few days after hurricane Maria with supplies. It made a difference. Now the Bahamas have been devastated by one of the most powerful hurricanes in meteorological history. Our ship, the John Paul DeJoria, is in the Bahamas responding to this tragic disaster and delivering much needed aid to these devastated shores,” stated Captain Paul Watson, Founder and Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
The MV John Paul de Joria will depart Nassau to the Abacos on Monday laden with pallets of aid from Canada, to install water filtration systems in remote villages still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Dorian.