THE US Federal Maritime Commission has told vessel and marine terminal operators it will help them speed the delivery of aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
“The FMC is committed to taking whatever steps we can under our jurisdiction to smooth the regulatory process and expedite shipment of cargo,” said commission chairman Richard Lidinsky.
The move is aimed at encouraging new water services from US ports to Haiti as soon as facilities there are able to receive them.
The FMC also told freight forwarders that they can give free or reduced-rate service to relief agencies shipping to Haiti, and marine terminal operators can waive or reduce charges for relief or reconstruction.
Meanwhile, the Maritime Administration announced that it is preparing a second high-speed superferry, Alakai, to offer passenger and cargo relief to Haiti. The organisation activated the first superferry and four other reserve ships earlier this week.
As a 6.1-intensity aftershock hit Port-au-Prince yesterday, the US Navy hospital ship Comfort began treating victims off Haiti’s coast.
SEA STAR Line said yesterday, 20, it is taking earthquake relief a step further by converting relief containers into temporary housing for the homeless of Haiti, which was hit by a 6.1-intensity aftershock.
Once medical supplies, food and water is dispersed from the boxes, Sea Star will donate 50 to 100 FEU and 45ft containers to the Red Cross, which will arrange to have windows cut into them and cooling units installed.
“We found this was an easy and effective way to help with the relief effort,” Fred Schloth, Sea Star’s marketing VP, told Fairplay.
Sea Star’s efforts have been hung up, however, by the logistical nightmare confronting commercial carriers, as the US military works to restore shattered country’s supply chain.
A Crowley Maritime spokesman told Fairplay today it will conduct a test beach landing tomorrow, unloading a dozen TEU boxes from the container ship Macajam onto a smaller vessel, which will relay the supplies to the beach.
ROYAL Caribbean has offered to ship aid to Haiti as the devastation caused by Tuesday’s massive earthquake becomes clearer.
A statement released by Royal Caribbean said: “Site inspections of Labadee, Haiti, our private destination, report no apparent damage to our buildings, pier and attractions.
“Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises are eager to take guests, as well as humanitarian assistance, to Haiti as soon as possible, though we are awaiting confirmation from the Haitian government on when our return is feasible,” it continued.
The fact that the Labadee facility survived the disaster may be critical to improve the flow of humanitarian aid to Port-au-Prince, whose piers were badly damaged by the 7.0-intensity tremor, according to a US Coast Guard inspection.
IHS Global Insight commented: “There is a risk of outbreaks of violence within the coming weeks if humanitarian aid does not reach all of those affected. A refugee crisis could also arise, affecting the Dominican Republic and probably the United States; such a crisis can only be avoided if international aid reaches Haiti in time.”
With information from SAFETY AT SEA INTERNATIONAL
EARTHQUAKE relief at Port-au-Prince, Haiti is delayed indefinitely due to heavily damaged port facilities preventing vessel access to cargo docks.
“The real trick right now is trying to identify someplace in the area that is both suitable and safe to bring in a vessel,” Crowley spokesman Mark Miller told Fairplay today. “What kind of vessel that is, no one knows at his point. But whatever cargo is delivered will have to be handled either on a ro-ro basis or the carrier will have to have one or more cranes onboard,” Miller said.
The potential for unidentified debris submerged by the effects of the 7.0-intensity tremor can further complicate the situation, Miller added.
Crowley calls on Port-au-Prince twice a week. It diverted a vessel en route to Haiti at the time of the earthquake on 12 January to Rio Haina, Dominican Republic.
US Coast Guard officials reported multiple oil and fuel spills as well as possible sewage spills in the area of the port. They also reported multiple small fires along the shoreline and significant damage to or destruction of infrastructure at the port.