Shortly after Hurricane Dorian devastated the northeast Bahamas, MRR and the crew of the Sea Reaper were preparing to help in any way they could. With the 65’ vessel Sea Reaper as our biggest asset, we immediately removed the excavation tubes and cleared the back deck of anchor ropes to be able to hold more cargo for the relief effort that we knew was soon to come.
Seeing that a number of people were reaching out to the local community for donations on the days following Dorian, we offered our cargo transportation services to some of the local groups that were stockpiling donations. We met with Beau Slay and Eric Townsend of Treasure Coast United-Bahama Relief, and Pastor Todd of Revive Church in Stuart, Florida. Soon after meeting with these community members, we agreed to take cargo to specific areas in the Abaco Islands, Bahamas. We decided to work with this group because of their focus on getting relief directly to remote locations that need help quickly, and not going through mass operations that deal with government bureaucracy. Delivering directly to specific community leaders in the Bahamas ensures that our efforts are not in vain. On Thursday, September 19th, 18,000 pounds of relief supplies were loaded on board the Sea Reaper at a local dock in Ft. Pierce, Florida.
The above photos show 18,000 pounds of relief supplies being loaded on board the Sea Reaper.
On Monday September 15th, at the earliest possible weather window, the Sea Reaper left Fort Pierce Inlet in 10 to 12 foot seas and headed for Fox Town, Bahamas to make a much needed delivery of disaster relief supplies. The local people of Fox Town met the crew at the government dock and helped us unload nearly 10,000 pounds of supplies in less than 30 minutes. We saw a sense of appreciation on each and every one of their faces when we arrived and tied the Sea Reaper to the dock. Access to this area of Little Abaco has been cut off due to a washed-out bridge and shallow water surrounding the tip of land, making it a difficult community to reach with large deliveries. Like many other affected areas in the Abacos, the Sea Reaper is the perfect vessel to maneuver into these shallow waters loaded with bulk supplies. This is because of its very shallow draft and wide beam. Fortunately, we have already been able to get large deliveries to people who need help the most. These difficult-to-reach communities are the areas that we are striving to reach and impact.
Locals unload nearly 10,000 pounds of relief supplies with community leader and point of contact, Candice, at the government dock in Fox Town.
The shallow draft of the 65’ Sea Reaper makes it the ideal vessel to deliver large shipments in hard-to-reach areas. Notice the rocks in very shallow water that the Sea Reaper was able to maneuver over while approaching the L-shaped government dock in Fox Town.
On Tuesday, September 16th, we moved the Sea Reaper 30 miles down the eastern shoreline of the Abacos to Treasure Cay. This area was particularly hard-hit by Hurricane Dorian, with catastrophic loss to many of the local people, homes and businesses. When the Sea Reaper arrived at the dock in Treasure Cay, we were greeted by Pastor Todd and a group of very happy volunteers that helped us unload the remaining 8,000 pounds of supplies, including many palettes of water and other supplies such as canned goods, clothes, medical supplies and much needed infant supplies. This relief was very well received and directed toward local pastors and community leaders to ensure distribution to the people in the most need of daily sustainability.
The above photos show 8,000 pounds of supplies being unloaded in Treasure Cay to be transported to local distribution locations.
The Sea Reaper unloaded and left Treasure Cay on the afternoon of the 16th,and on the return trip was again met with very unfavorable gulf stream conditions with wave heights up to 15 feet. Upon arrival to Fort Pierce Inlet, the crew of the Sea Reaper was very pleasantly surprised by the support of the local community whistling and cheering on the vessel as it entered the inlet. There was a strong sense comradery for helping our neighbors, and it has been very enlightening to see our local community in St. Lucie County making this effort an achievable goal.
After our return, we met again with the members of Treasure Coast United-Bahama Relief to discuss our new understanding of logistical challenges and the plan for our next deliveries. With over 140,000 pounds of relief supplies already stockpiled in warehouses at the moment, we are committed to the effort of getting this relief to the people in the northern Bahamas who need it the most. We are loading more material over the weekend and due to inclement weather, planning for another departure on Sunday, September 22nd.
More than 140,000 pounds of supplies are already stockpiled and awaiting delivery.
All of us at MRR would like to thank each and every person who has contributed to this effort. For those who would like to get involved and help us make a difference, contact Captain Dan Porter directly by phone or email (305-394-0260, firstname.lastname@example.org) to be directed to our supporting nonprofits. This is an immediate need. After returning from being on the ground in affected areas, it is clear that the most impact we can make is time sensitive, and the time is now.