In the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian, Royal Caribbean Cruises CEO Richard Fain announced the company's generous plan of action.
Hurricane Dorian has claimed at least 20 lives and destroyed many buildings, especially on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco. The United Nations estimates around 70,000 people are in immediate need of food, water, and shelter.
Royal Caribbean International, also known by its former name Royal Caribbean Cruise Line announced on Tuesday that it has planned to stock its ships with goods, including generators, water, cleaning supplies, sheets, and towels, for delivery to the Bahamas.
Passengers aboard @RoyalCaribbean’s Empress of the Seas got this message. The ship is making a detour tomorrow with 10k meals, 10k water bottles, medical supplies, generators and other #HurricaneDorian relief items off Grand Bahama Island ahead of planned stop at Nassau. pic.twitter.com/raH2v7Z0cF— Chabeli Herrera (@ChabeliH) September 5, 2019
CEO Richard Fain spoke to Fox News and said that the Miami-based cruise-line giant is used to dealing with tropical systems, but the devastation left by Dorian in the northern Bahamas is staggering.
"It's hard to appreciate -- those of us in Miami are used to seeing hurricanes. We get them for a few hours," he said. "But on Grand Bahama, that storm just sat over them without moving for 38 hours."
The World Food Programme said on Thursday that they were ready to organize an airlift from Panama with a cargo of eight metric tonnes of ready-to-eat meals, two logistics hubs and satellite equipment for emergency response teams.
The Royal Caribbean, on the other hand, is also going to be of immense help thanks to this initiative of theirs.
Royal Caribbean is using its fleet to deliver 43,000 bottle of water, 10,000 meals, generators and other supplies to hard-hit areas of the Bahamas later today. "We're just getting started," the cruise line says. https://t.co/V9RYt90qjP pic.twitter.com/0ix7FXcsst— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) September 5, 2019
Fain told the press that Royal Caribbean has deviated the course of several of their ships to help with the relief effort. The company is used to berthing ships at Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, on New Providence Island, which is a regular port of call for many cruisers and the port of registry for many ships. "Our ships have come through unscathed," Fain said. "The spirit is very strong. They have made it clear they are very resilient, they made it clear they intend to come back," he spoke about residents on Grand Bahama, where homes and businesses have been leveled.
"The devastation is just awful. Our prayers go out to all of our friends there. Right now what we're trying to do, we're deviating ships... so that we will bring tomorrow... 10,000 meals to the people of Grand Bahama." Fain said the number will rise to at least 20,000 daily meals as of Friday. "We have the wherewithal. We have the people, we have the volunteers. We have the material, we have the capability."
Our @RoyalCaribbean #EmpressoftheSeas Cooks and Crew were up all night prepping 10,000 meals for #GrandBahama! Chicken, rice, fresh fuit, and we are doing it again tomorrow! #BahamaStrong https://t.co/5uXPMIW8C6 pic.twitter.com/yMuB6l9dza— James Van Fleet (@JamesVanFleet) September 5, 2019
Royal Caribbean owns a recreational island called Coco Cay (originally Little Stirrup Cap) about 80 miles south of where Dorian made landfall on Grand Bahama. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the Royal Caribbean had initially evacuated the employees and later said that there was no "visible structural damage" after checking webcams in the aftermath.
A spokesperson for the company told the outlet that the Navigator of the Seas is hoping to dock at the island on Saturday if conditions allow.
AMAZING! Royal Caribbean is sending its fleet packed with 43k water bottles, 10k meals, generators and other supplies to the Bahamas today. https://t.co/XS1EOwqWVq— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) September 5, 2019
The outlet also said that Royal Caribbean is also donating $1 million to disaster relief and collaborating with the Bahamian government, the non-profit Pan American Development Foundation and various Bahamian charities to distribute donations. The company will match every donation to the development foundation, up to $500,000, for the Bahamas.