Published On: Thu, Oct 5th, 2017

Navy ends emergency assistance to Dominica

Waterpallets van Zeeland

GREAT BAY – The navy terminated the emergency assistance by its vessels Zr. Ms. Zeeland and Zr. Ms. Pelikaan to Dominica on Wednesday. The Zeeland docked on Wednesday afternoon next to Zr. Ms. Karel Doorman in St. Maarten to bunker fuel for itself and for its on-board helicopter.

The regular support vessel in the west, Sr. Ms. Pelikaan is on its way to Curacao where it arrived on Thursday morning. The Zeeland and the Pelikaan provided emergency assistance to St. Maarten, Saba and Statia after the passage of Hurricane Irma. Both vessels also provided support to Dominica that was hit hard by Hurricane Maria.

On September 4 the Zeeland left Aruba for St. Maarten. The Pelikaan left Curacao the next day. The Zeeland was the first vessel to arrive in the area. Its on-board helicopter charted the damage to St. Maarten from the air. The images were seen all over the world while any form of communication with the outside world from St. Maarten was impossible.

On Thursday morning September 7 both vessels could safely dock in the port of St. Maarten. They started immediately providing emergency assistance and supporting the marine unit from Aruba. These marines were already in St. Maarten before Hurricane Irma to support the local authorities before and during the passing of the hurricane.

verspreiden voedsel en water NH90

The Pelikaan transported additional military personnel from Curacao, trucks and relief goods. After disembarking people and goods, the Pelikaan returned to Curacao twice to pick up more relief goods.

Almost two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit St. Maarten on September 6, a second heavy hurricane entered the area – Hurricane Maria. St. Maarten, Saba and Statia saw a lot of rain from this system but the islands did not suffer any additional damages. But Maria did create havoc in Dominica.

Marine met hulporganisatie

After a distress call from Dominica the navy vessels were also deployed to offer assistance to that country. The Zeeland was the first to receive an order for the delivery of water, food and medication to areas that were difficult to access. It used its NH90 helicopter and fast rubber boats to execute this mission. There was also a high priority for medical evacuations because patients were unable to reach the local hospital.

Waterafgifte Dominca

The Pelikaan functioned during the first days as the logistic life line; the vessel transported relief aid from the nearby islands Antigua and Martinique in close cooperation with local relief organizations. This transport capacity was crucial because initially there were no relief goods to distribute on the island.

Now that the regular supply to the island is getting underway again, the phase of emergency assistance has been terminated. The navy ended the deployment of the Zeeland and the Pelikaan to Dominica on Wednesday, October 4.

The Karel Doorman sailed to Dominica on Thursday, delivering 300 pallets of water. Afterwards the vessel returned to St. Maarten to support recovery efforts.

The Pelikaan arrived on Thursday at its base in Curacao. After a brief visit to the port of Barbados, the Zeeland will be deployed once more as the station vessel in the west.

The relief effort to Dominica included the evacuation of 48 patients with the NH90 helicopter. The navy delivered 423 tons of relief goods and helped with its distribution. The vessels furthermore transported 718 pallets, 234,000 liters of water and 6,700 liters of diesel.

The Pelikaan sailed twelve times up and down between Dominica, Antigua, St. Maarten and Martinique. Navy personnel provided assistance with the repair of pumps, generators and the electricity network in the hospital. The navy also executed searches for missing Dutch citizens in Dominica.