National sea rescue stations mobilised to help St. Martin

MARIGOT—President of St. Martin sea rescue service SNSM, René-Jean Duret, disclosed the President of the National SNSM in France has put a call out for all SNSM stations in France and overseas territories to give their support to the St. Martin station in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The help could come in the form of materials, supplies or financial aid.

SNSM was lent the lifeboat from St. Barths, SNSM 269, and the rigid inflatable “Rescue Star” was due to be put back in the water Wednesday afternoon, after it had been protected from Irma in the Geminga boat yard in Sandy Ground. Its batteries got flooded however but new batteries were found and installed. The French military also assisted with some repairs. No rescue attempts were permitted during the red alert for Hurricane Irma.

“We have two boats operational but the problem now is getting enough crew together after these storms,” said Duret.

“The Sandy Ground Bridge is currently out of order so not boats can get into the lagoon,” Vice-President Jean-Claude van Rymenant added.

Van Rymenant noted the St. Barths lifeboat assisted in the Simpson Bay Lagoon and a rescue boat from Martinique came to help at Anse Marcel Marina where five boats were stuck in the channel there. Two boats were removed but the other three were sunk too deep, leaving the channel blocked.

Duret added SNSM will shortly be launching a donation drive to obtain funds. “People who want to donate from St. Martin will get special tax reductions. In France the rate is 66 per cent reduction.”

Widespread destruction caused by the hurricane was visible in the boat yards of Sandy Ground. One boat yard had reportedly dug deep pits to put yachts in to protect them from the storm but these pits had filled with water causing the yachts to float away, adding to the chaos.

Source: The Daily Herald