YachtAid Delivers Relief to the Bahamas

September 12, 2019

Yachting Journal

  • Photo: YachtAid Global
  • Photo: YachtAid Global
  • Photo: YachtAid Global

  • Photo: YachtAid Global

On Sept. 1, as category 5 Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, YachtAid Global’s Operation Topaz prepared to assist.

Numerous vessels over 100-ft. LOA deployed swiftly to the Bahamas. They were engaged by YAG in Operation Topaz’ relief effort, using the benevolence of superyacht owners to organize humanitarian aid and disaster relief to the storm ravaged areas of the Abacos and Grand Bahama islands.

The vessels were loaded with thousands of pounds of donated emergency provisions to be discharged as directed by the Bahama’s National Emergency Management Agency. They carried diesel, gasoline, fresh drinking water, food, an endless list of necessities, and disaster relief workers.

An important part of the Topaz mission is having vessels make fresh water using reverse osmosis equipment aboard and pumping it ashore. The vessels also have broadband satellite communications equipment to enable people on the islands to contact with their loved ones. As an example of direct help, Operation Topaz provides electrical outlets on piers or at anchor so storm victims can charge small devices. Trees were taken down, and roads cleared, houses repaired and security provided. Tenders and smaller support vessels were used to move cargo and people between
islands in shallow water. Aviation assets were also mobilized to help in this mission.

The first responders on site in the Abacos were the M/V Loon, whose crew is trained in disaster response, working with specialized emergency response team from GSD, numbering up to 28 strong. Many other partners, such as M/V Pacific Hope, a hospital ship providing primary medical care also joined Operation Topaz. A YAG Emergency Management Coordinator is on site in Nassau, working directly with NEMA and certified NGOs to deliver aid most efficiently.

Operation Topaz doesn’t limit its scope to two-legged creatures devastated by the storm.

After the M/Y Laurel, a 240-foot Delta, dropped off more than 30 tons of supplies, the superyacht’s crew rescued 55 dogs. A veterinarian helped make sure the dogs were properly prepared and cared for before, during and after the transport to Rybovich SuperYacht Marina in West Palm Beach, taken to Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Loxahatchee, Florida. Many of the dogs’ owners are still missing, rescued or evacuated themselves or unable to care for their pets.