In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the 63m explorer yacht M/Y SURI is set to deliver much-needed supplies and support to the worst-affected islands of the Caribbean as part of the Ark project.
Supported by BWA Yachting, M/Y SURI is currently en route to St Maarten as ‘Ark 2’, carrying essential supplies and equipment. Piloted by volunteer Captain Juan Koegelenberg, Ark 2 has collected aid in Barcelona and is heading to St Maarten where she will deliver her load before heading on to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (1st to 5th November 2017).
Ark 2 is following in the wake of Ark 1, embodied by yacht S/V LORENA, and is the culmination of efforts by a number of people who came together to help after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria last month.
She was chartered from RM Croisiere and repurposed for the journey with the help of Douglas Rapier’s Yacht Services Agency, which offered ground support to set the yacht up for the task under the captaincy of Dominica resident Andy Sinkey, who volunteered after seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
One of the driving forces of the Ark concept was Captain Lucille Frye of BWA Yachting St Maarten, who created the initial impetus, and has been assisted by many other active volunteers, along with family and friends and volunteers throughout yachting community. Their efforts are reflective of the voluntary charitable ethos of the yachting industry worldwide, with BWA Yachting part of the Super Yacht Aid Coalition working with Yacht Aid Global.
The original plan for Ark 1 was to make regular journeys between St Kitts and St Maarten to bring continual aid. Under Captain Sinkey’s guidance, LORENA was able to deliver four tons of aid relief to K1 Britannia on her first journey, including essential supplies of gas and diesel, food, water and medical equipment, but sadly, shortly after LORENA was left stranded in St Maarten, while Dominica was hit by Category-five Hurricane Maria.
As soon as was possible, Captain Sinkey put to sea from St Maarten and travelled to Dominica carrying another four tons of essential supplies, including urgent medical equipment donated by the St Maarten Medical Hospital.
The heroic efforts of Ark 1 inspired the Ark 2 relief effort, where Lucille Frye and her BWA St Maarten team gathered information on which items were most needed.
Simultaneously, Antonella Della Pietra and a team at BWA Yachting Spain set out to find the tons of essential supplies required to replace equipment lost at vital facilities, including care homes, children’s homes and animal rescue centres. The mountain of supplies that they amassed includes equipment such as beds, cots, bedding, school supplies and animal food, all of which will help the people of St Maarten recover a normal life.
According to BWA Yachting, the spirit of Ark 1 was to react first and raise the funds later. In this spirit, BWA Yachting is asking for help and donations to support this vital and on-going relief effort.
In a recent statement, BWA Yachting said, “A month on from the impact of Hurricane Irma, the islands are still suffering, with many small businesses and essential services still not functioning. Although the overall picture is one of general recovery, there is still a shortage of essential supplies, and this is where the targeted aid provided by the Ark project will be most useful.
“The organisers of the Ark project are also asking for help from anyone running a yacht that is crossing to the Caribbean, through The Super Yacht Coalition Group (SAC). SAC is helping to coordinate the future transport of supplies across the Atlantic with the help of yachts returning to the Caribbean during the upcoming charter season.
“Any interested yacht owners can help towards the efforts of the SAC by seeking donations of goods or financial donations from crew, family and other vessels, and carrying these across to the Caribbean. A list of essential items put together by charity organisations working in the region is available from the SAC to help determine what items to solicit from donors.”
In the statement, BWA Yachting added, “BWA Yachting has expressed their gratitude for all of the donations so far received and offered their assurance that everyone who has donated has been able to help them make a difference to the lives of people in the Caribbean who have been so badly affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.”