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Cruise lines cancel trips and use their ships to rescue Irma victims

(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Cruise lines have canceled their planned trips and are instead working with the U.S. government to help those affected by Hurricane Irma. Companies like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line are sending ships filled with supplies for people in the U.S. Virgin Islands who have been displaced by the storm.

On Sunday, Royal Carribean’s ‘Adventure of the Seas’ ship, which holds up to 3,800 passengers, was sent to St. Maarten to rescue victims that have been left without a place to go. Irma, at its strongest, was a category five hurricane when it hit the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 6th. The storm damaged more than 70 percent of the houses in St. Maarten.

The ship,  ‘Majesty of the Seas,’ has carried more than 2,500 passengers from St. Thomas and St. Maarten and transported victims to safety and shelter. One ship, ‘Empress of the Seas,’ will remain on standby in Key West, Florida to assist with humanitarian efforts there as well.

Damaged buildings and fallen trees litter downtown Marigot, on the island of St. Martin, after the passing of Hurricane Irma, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Amandine Ascensio)

The CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley, told ABC News that the ships would first be used as a place to feed and take care of the responders, then will board victims and take them to safety. Royal Caribbean has canceled all of the trips planned to sail from Miami, Florida for the past four days, but plans to get back on schedule Tuesday.

The Norwegian Cruise Line also assisted in the relief efforts and sent their ship ‘Norwegian Sky’ to St. Thomas filled with supplies for the island on Sunday. The company has another ship that is at maximum capacity with 4,000 displaced cruise guests, the ship is currently docked in Cozumel, Mexico, but will leave Monday night and head to Miami, Florida according to the companies press release. Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled or altered all of the Eastern Caribbean planned cruises until November.

Hurricane Irma has left thousands of residents on the U.S. Virgin Islands without food, shelter, electricity, or phone service. In the Carribean region alone, at least 37 people have died in result of the storm.


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