At an informal ceremony this week at Bobby’s Marina, Sea Rescue Foundation’s MS Dolphin’s relaunch was officially baptized by Steve Duzanson of the R4CR and Chris Johnson of the Dutch Representation of Philipsburg. The MS Dolphin is the flagship vessel of the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation that has undergone thorough improvements over the past years.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Sea Rescue’s fleet and office were profoundly damaged, making its already complex operations of saving ships in distress more difficult. With the help of Dutch government support via the R4CR its flagship was able to be refitted in a profound manner. Amongst a major overhaul, the ship received new platforms, railings, a bridge extension, an exhaust fixing, engine refurbishment and replacement, and a new airco unit. Over the past weeks, the boat and its crews have resumed training in the waters around its home base Philipsburg.
Mr Duzanson was elated to see MS Dolphin back in action. “We are grateful to have been able to contribute as R4CR to this project. As an island, we are dependent on the sea in many ways, for our income and supplies, and to support a nautical NGO literally putting their lives at risk to safeguard these waterways, has been a pleasure.”
Also present was Dutch Government representative Chris Johnson. The Dutch Government Representation in Philipsburg supported the relaunch with badly needed life rafts. An islander himself, he added“Be it by cruise ships, sailing boats, motor yachts or connecting ferries to surrounding islands, the size of St. Maarten’s dependency on water is often underestimated. Safety is a crucial element of this large nautical economy, and for that, a fully equipped MS Dolphin is a vital asset. On behalf of the Dutch Representation, we wish her safe voyages”.
Over the past forty years, the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation saved hundreds of lives of seamen, passengers, and tourists that navigated the islands’ territorial waters. A ten-person brigade is on standby day and night in case ships find themselves in trouble in St. Maarten waters. In conjunction with its French side, Saban, Statian and Anguillan counterparts, the brigade is also often active beyond the confinements of country St. Maarten’s territorial waters.
Secretary of the board and voluntary Crew Member Serge Bakker: “Our wholly voluntary foundation stands for mutual assistance, literally day and night, as can also be seen in our logo. But forty years of experience in assisting one another does not mean we take mutual help for granted; we know how special it is to go to great lengths to assist fellow human beings, and how to appreciate such.
This is why the foundation is profoundly grateful for the assistance from R4CR and the Dutch Representative in Philipsburg. in recovering our vessel in the wake of Hurricane Irma.”.
Sea Rescue is a wholly independent, non-governmental not-for-profit organization. For the four decades of its existence, it has fully relied on voluntary operations and third-party donations to be able to be operational 24/7, 365 days a year. Especially as the main Sea Rescue vessel Dolphin is finalizing its profound redevelopment, a large variety of in-kind donations is more than welcome, varying from light bulbs to motor service parts. Should you or your company be interested in supporting the Sea Rescue Foundation, please let the brigade know via email@example.com. If you are interested in volunteering for the St Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation you can find us on www.searescue.sx for more information.