Carnival Australia is marshalling the resources of its Australian based ships to deliver desperately needed humanitarian aid to Vanuatu still reeling from the devastation of Cyclone Pam.
Four ships -- P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn and Pacific Pearl and Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Legend and Carnival Spirit -- are either on the way or preparing to go to Vanuatu.
Carnival Legend became one of the first ships to arrive in Vanuatu yesterday, delivering bottled water, a generator and other goods from the ship to Santo, which was spared the worst effects of the catastrophic cyclone. Carnival Spirit will depart Sydney on March 30 carrying more aid for the cyclone-ravaged region.
Meanwhile Pacific Dawn is expected to become the first cruise ship carrying humanitarian aid to reach Port Vila when it arrives there on Wednesday after departing from Brisbane this weekend. Pacific Pearl leaves Sydney on Monday and is due in Port Vila on Saturday, March 28.
Working with Save the Children, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Pearl will be carrying numerous pallets of vitally needed supplies including food, bottled water and tarpaulins for shelter in stricken island communities.
“The two immediate calls are for humanitarian purposes only but they will also enable our Ni-Vanuatu crew on our ships to make face to face contact with their families for the first time since the cyclone hit,” said Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry. “We look forward to returning to Vanuatu on a regular basis because cruise tourism is so important to the economic wellbeing of the country and its people.”
On the way to Port Vila, Pacific Dawn will make her scheduled cruise calls to Noumea and Lifou. Port Vila remains in a state of emergency and Pacific Dawn’s call will be limited to the few hours needed to unload the shipment of humanitarian aid. Passengers will not disembark given the difficult situation on the ground.
“We are confident that our guests will understand this knowing that they are playing an active part in delivering help to our friends in Vanuatu,” Ms Sherry said.
Pacific Pearl will also carry humanitarian aid when she departs from Sydney on Monday. Carnival Australia ships will continue to carry aid shipments to Vanuatu as the country embarks on long term reconstruction.
Plans are also in train for benefit concerts to be held onboard the P&O Cruises fleet with the proceeds devoted to Vanuatu relief. The scale of the emergency in Vanuatu is unprecedented in the South Pacific and the marshalling of Carnival Australia's fleet resources is part of the company's overall response to the humanitarian crisis.
The response involves a contribution of $300,000 to Save the Children's relief efforts comprising $150,000 from Carnival Australia and $150,000 from Carnival Corporation Chairman MickyArison through his family foundation.