March 3, 2010

New shipmaster steps in for Sea Hunter

By Bill Nemitz bnemitz@pressherald.com
Columnist

(Continued from page 2)

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Sea Hunter owner Greg Brooks of Gorham confers by telephone with the Coast Guard this morning.

Photo by Bill Nemitz/Staff Writer

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Volunteers, from left, Dan Kidd of Limington and Rick Woodbury of Scarborough and deckhand Shawn Jordan of Portland, secure loose items on the main deck of the Sea Hunter this morning.

Photo by Bill Nemitz/Staff Writer

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The containers are filled mostly with supplies donated by Cross International. The Florida-based charity supports Hope Village, an orphanage and community assistance program in the Haitian coastal city of Les Cayes.

Hope Village, Sea Hunter’s planned destination, was founded and is operated by the Rev. Marc Boisvert, a Roman Catholic priest who grew up in Lewiston.

In an e-mail from Les Cayes on Tuesday evening, Boisvert said he, like Brooks, refused to give up hope.

“I am disappointed but will wait for the final decision in the morning,” Boisvert wrote. “This whole story has been very dramatic so far and it ain’t over.”

He added, “One can’t work in Haiti for very long without patience, humor and realistic expectations. I am fortunate to have two of those in my quiver. I did not anticipate the hurdles over at your end. I really thought that the major ones would be here.”

Asked what he will do if Sea Hunter is ultimately unable to go to Haiti, Brooks said he will look for another vessel to take its cargo.

In addition to food, clothing, water, medical supplies and other palletized items, the ship’s cargo includes a large mobile medical unit donated to the Portland-based organization Konbit Sante by the Maine Migrant Health Program.

Also aboard is a solar-powered water desalinator, donated to another orphanage near Port-au-Prince by New Jersey-based WorldWater & Solar Technologies.

Reactions aboard Sea Hunter to the latest setback ranged from frustration and anger to determination that, one way or another, the supplies will get through.

“I’m almost speechless,” said Dan Kidd, a mechanical engineer from Limington who left behind his small business, Yankee Engineering, to volunteer on Sea Hunter’s mission.

“The people (in Haiti) need our help. We have the help and the means and the desire to get it there,” Kidd said. “What is (the Coast Guard) protecting us from?”

“I was looking forward to it,” said deckhand Dave St. Cyr of Portland. “I don’t know what else to say. But there’s always hope.”

Allan “Mac” McIntire of South Portland, Sea Hunter’s security officer, said he still feels a deep obligation to the many Mainers who came to the dock in Portland almost a month ago laden with donations for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

“It doesn’t matter who brings it,” McIntire said. “It just needs to go.”

Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at bnemitz@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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Sea Hunter owner Greg Brooks briefs his crew after a successful trip to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol office Tuesday morning.

Photo by Bill Nemitz/Staff Writer

  


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