Cruise Lines Are Sending Ships to Rescue Hurricane Irma Victims in the Caribbean

September 11, 2017, 11:12 AM UTC

Royal Caribbean announced on Sunday that it’s sending two cruise ships to Caribbean islands ravaged by Hurricane Irma in an effort to help victims of the massive storm.

The cruise line’s Adventure of the Seas ship, with passenger capacity of 3,800, was scheduled to make a humanitarian stop in St. Maarten on Sunday. Hurricane Irma ripped through St. Maarten, the Dutch side of the island known as St. Martin located east of Puerto Rico, killing at least four and badly damaging or destroying 70% of houses there, according to the government of the Netherlands. On Sunday, there were reports of violence on St. Martin as storm survivors, without electricity or phone service, fought over what little food and water remained.

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Another Royal Caribbean ship, Majesty of the Seas, will make a humanitarian call to another island, St. Thomas, as well as to St. Maarten, where the ship, built for up to 2,800 passengers, will assist in transporting evacuees to safety. St. Thomas, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, suffered extensive damage from the hurricane, which crippled the island’s only hospital.

Another cruise company, Norwegian Cruise Line, mobilized its 2,000-passenger Norwegian Sky ship to St. Thomas to deliver supplies and assist with humanitarian effort being organized by the government, according to a release.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for the U.S. Virgin Islands last week, a designation that will help the territory receive federal funding for its recovery more quickly.

Two more Royal Caribbean ships, Empress of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas, are prepared to assist areas in Florida—Key West and Tampa—if they’re needed, according to the company’s release.

On Friday, the cruise company deployed Enchantment of the Seas, a 989-ft vessel with capacity for 2,700 passengers, to evacuate its own employees and their families from Miami as the storm hurtled toward Florida.

Cruise lines have canceled scheduled trips due to the storm. That’s freed up ships to help before and after the storm, while pummeling cruise company stocks.