Several cruise companies, in addition to US Coast Guard, have deployed ships to support relief efforts to the areas devastated by Hurricane Irma. Many shipping operations across the US Southeast have been shut down due to Irma and also cruse ships were forced to change their routes.
On Sunday, Irma reached to the western Florida peninsula, as a Category 4 storm, after passing through several Caribbean islands and killing at least 24 people.
USCG cutters crews have been arriving in the US Virgin Islands, on Thursday and Friday. A Newport, Rhode Island Coast Guard cutter crew and three air crews from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod were also deployed in support of Irma rescue and recovery operations.
Rescue efforts are also enhanced by cruise ships heading to storm-damaged Caribbean islands.
Royal Caribbean announced on Sunday that it is deploying cruise ships to St. Thomas and St. Maarten to transport people impacted by the devastating storm to safe places.
“Royal Caribbean announced it has cancelled the September 15 sailing of Majesty of the Seas so that the cruise line can utilize the ship for humanitarian efforts in areas of the Caribbean with urgent need,” the company stated.
Norwegian Cruise Line is also sending one ship to St. Thomas to pick up about 2,000 people late Monday who couldn’t get off the island before the storm, according to CNN.
USCG has requested mariners in life-threatening situations along Florida’s Gulf Coast to contact Coast Guard watchstanders by phone during the absence or degradation of VHF radio communications caused by Hurricane Irma.
“Mariners unable to reach the Coast Guard by VHF radio should use contact Sector St. Petersburg Command Center at 727-896-6187 or 727-896-6188 until radio signals improve or are restored” USCG said.