75 days after IRMA
So - IRMA happened… some 75 days ago! For all those who make their home in the BVI, and the other islands in the Caribbean that were affected, it was really a life changing event. The people who endured the storm on that night in September count themselves lucky to be alive, as well they might. I have heard that taking shelter in the path of a category 5 hurricane is no laughing matter. That said, the islanders are quickly picking themselves up and are looking forward with inspiring optimism, and I have so much respect for their resilience and strength of spirit.
TMM, like all charter outfits, was hit pretty hard. Road Reef marina was heavily damaged and maybe a quarter of the boats were lost or substantially damaged beyond repair. Many others were damaged such that they would need lengthy repair work prior to being chartered again. TMMs’ management quickly assessed the situation and they realized that to survive they needed to cut costs, and conserve cash, quickly. They reduced staff by more than two thirds, keeping on a core team to provide base security and clean up effort for the remaining fleet. That remaining fleet is now largely under repair, and a few new vessels are already going out on charter!
In the immediate aftermath of the storm the TMM vessel owners and friends quickly formed an employee fund that has as of now raised close to 70,000 USD to provide support for the employees of TMM on island who have lost their homes, their belongings, and in some cases their livelihoods. The funds have been used to purchase some emergency generators for employee use, and also to make payments to staff who have lost their incomes. The generators were shipped to the island on an owners boat making the trip from the USA. Hopefully this allows most to tie themselves over till the charterers come back in the new year and business recovers.
For my part, Ariadne was tucked up in the hurricane hole at Paraquita Bay for the storm. She came through it fairly well, unlike many boats which were literally tossed around in the shelter.
Her rig remained intact, as well as her hull, and she was brought back from Paraquita to Road Reef marina under her own steam. There is a heavy amount of superficial damage and damage to upper deck hardware, but it is repairable and the insurers are stepping up.
As of now the plan is to ship Ariadne, with a few other TMM stablemates, to Florida in the middle of December to get her repairs done. With any luck she will be back out on the water, and in the charter business by the spring. In the meantime I will post some blogs as she goes through her time under repair and getting back to work. Stay tuned!