Red Cross’ M/V Amazing Grace makes first voyage, brings aid

The country’s first and only humanitarian vessel, the M/V Amazing Grace, finally docked at the shore of barangay Cabcab in San Andres town last Sunday, bringing vehicles for the local chapter of the Philippine Red Cross.

The ship failed to dock as scheduled at 9 A.M. after the arrival of PRC Chairman and Sen. Richard Gordon was delayed by a live television interview that had to be done at the chapter headquarters due to the lack of wifi signal at Cabcab.

Caught by the low tide, Amazing Grace managed to lower its ramp on the beach at 4 P.M. of Nov. 29, at about the same time Gordon and his party flew back to Manila.

To be used as an ambulance and disaster response ship, the vessel will ensure that life-saving services and goods will reach affected population in the fastest possible time and in the most efficient manner possible, the Red Cross chairman said earlier.

Christened in 2016, the ship reportedly underwent repair and modifications that took four more years to complete.

The Red Cross intends to use MV Amazing Grace as emergency units’ rapid transport and landing vessel, relief supply transport ship, hospital ship, medical facility deployment ship, sea rescue vessel, mass evacuation vessel, humanitarian logistics ship, mobile operations command post, and humanitarian education and training ship.

The vessel is capable of carrying 6×6 trucks, ambulances, and relief goods to people affected by disasters. It is also capable of evacuating thousands of people from a particular barangay to a safer place when needed.

Last Sunday, it unloaded an undetermined number of relief goods and two vehicles – a Toyota Hilux and Willys jeep – intended for the Catanduanes chapter.

The pickup truck as well as five Honda XRM motorcycles were donated by the American Red Cross, which was represented by Shir Shah Ayobi.

Earlier in the morning, Gordon, accompanied by Ayobi, Gov. Joseph Cua and San Andres Mayor Peter Cua, distributed kitchen kits to 298 families in Cabcab who were affected by super typhoon Rolly.

Also present during the event were PBM Giovanni Balmadrid, Mayor Francisco Camano Jr. of San Miguel, Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr. of Virac, Mayor Cesar Robles of Panganiban, PRC Catanduanes chairman Gabriel Tejerero and members of the PRC Board of Directors.

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