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Royal Caribbean ship houses Florida condo collapse first responders

Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas is docked at PortMiami to provide free housing and support for the search and rescue teams working at the Surfside condominium collapse.

The company is working in collaboration with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), whose director, Kevin Guthried, thanked Royal Caribbean for aiding the first responders.

'This resource will ensure our search and rescue teams have a quiet space to recover their mental and physical well-being as they work 12-hour shifts,' he said.

600 emergency workers and their dogs

Explorer will host approximately 600 emergency workers from around the world, providing a respite from their difficult shifts. Search and rescue teams — including their dogs — will arrive in groups of 80 at a time to the ship. On board, they will receive individual staterooms, hot meals, laundry service and Wi-Fi.

'This tragedy in our own backyard is heart-wrenching,' Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said. 'Our thoughts are with the families and our whole community, and our thanks go out to the hardworking search and rescue teams. Providing them shelter is a small way to show our support.'

Approvals expedited within 24 hours

In order to accomplish this effort, the Royal Caribbean Group team and the ship's leadership worked with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's office, Miami-Dade County, FDEM, the US Coast Guard, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US Customs and Border Protection to receive the necessary approvals within 24 hours.

'This incredible act of kindness and generosity from our friends at Royal Caribbean is deeply appreciated by our entire community,' Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. 'Over the past nine days, our first responders have been working under dangerous, stressful conditions to move our search and rescue mission forward through so many unprecedented challenges. These accommodations will provide them with a much-needed respite and opportunity to rest and recharge for their next shift and are yet another example of how our local and global community has come together in the aftermath of tragedy.'

'We are here for our community'

'Our people have worked very hard to get everything organized and coordinated, in just a matter of hours, to be able to house so many workers,' Fain said. 'We are here for our community — all of us.'

Explorer of the Seas began housing rescue teams Thursday and likely will continue for the next month. The ship is docked at PortMiami's Terminal F.

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