The humanitarian organization Sea Mercy has teamed up with the Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting (ACYM) to enact a first response and long-term rebuilding plan.
A key portal for yacht tourism in the area, the ACYM connects the international super-yacht industry with local economies in these Caribbean cruising grounds. Opening the season in Antigua, the annual ACYM show attracts hundreds of industry professionals and contributes significantly to the local community.
Following the hurricanes, ACYM received calls from yacht owners around the world asking how they could help. Having enjoyed the beauty of these cruising grounds over many seasons, these sailors understood the devastation and impact of these storms. ACYM turned to Sea Mercy for help.
Operating since 2012, Sea Mercy has extensive experience in first response, rebuild operations, health care and economic development for disaster-struck communities in remote areas. Comprised of dedicated vessels and a volunteer fleet with their private vessels, Sea Mercy overcomes infrastructure limitations after disasters by accessing damaged areas with sail-powered boats.
Using the power and reach of the international yachting community, Sea Mercy and AYCM are calling for donations. The primary mission will be to provision an ocean-going, all-purpose landing craft, enabling volunteers to access communities and deliver desalination units to make clean drinking water, building materials to erect shelter and water catchment and health care personnel to tend to basic needs until hospitals and health care are rebuilt.
A preferred vessel has been sourced and is able to be delivered promptly from nearby US shores.
Sea Mercy director Richard Hackett is currently at the Monaco Yacht Show to meet super-yacht owners and industry, raise funds and publicize the cause.
'Our heart goes out all our friends and colleagues on these islands,' he said. 'We are honored to be called upon by ACYM. With their networks and our experience, I truly believe we can make a difference. Our Sea Mercy volunteers will rise to the challenge. We have done this before in Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu, but now we can bring our service closer to home.'
Sea Mercy will work in conjunction with the parks commissioner for the Antigua & Barbuda National Park and ACYM members to ensure best direction of efforts.