WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — WPTV news crews are onboard a humanitarian cruise ship that docked Friday morning on Grand Bahama after Hurricane Dorian struck the island earlier this week.
On the ship, which docked at Freeport around 10 a.m., are hundreds of local volunteers ready to help the victims impacted by the catastrophic storm.
Sonar is being used around the harbor to make sure the Grand Celebration cruise ship is safe to pull into port.
When the hurricane ravaged Grand Bahama Island, the CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line knew he had to do something, so he turned the ship into a sailing relief effort.
“When you think of how fortunate we were that thing was coming straight at us and stopped and stood over the Bahamas and destroyed everything,” said Ozzie Mederios, the owner of Table 26 restaurant in West Palm Beach.
Mederios is one of hundreds of volunteers on board who will help unload a cargo bay full of supplies.
Danny O’Brien owns one of many businesses leveled by the powerful storm that stalled over Grand Bahama earlier this week.
"I’m going out there to see it the first time myself,” said O’Brien, who is aboard the ship headed to island Friday morning.
The true magnitude of Dorian will be clear to these volunteers, who are now on the front lines in the battle to bring this island back.
“I kept thinking these people have nothing ... nothing is available for them,” said Mederios.
Also on board the ship are doctors and nurses from the Palm Beach County Medical Society as well as West Palm Beach firefighters.
The ship will transport Bahamian residents back home who were stranded in South Florida during the hurricane.
The Grand Celebration is scheduled to return to the Port of Palm Beach on Saturday with Bahamian residents who wish to evacuate to the U.S. and have proper documentation.
We are told there are 1,500 people waiting to get on the ship and back to the states. Doctors from Palm Beach Co are standing by to get into hospitals and shelters to help those injured. They have brought supplies knowing the need is urgent right now. @WPTV pic.twitter.com/KjGANQ0usp— Ryan Hughes (@HughesWPTV) September 6, 2019