FEMA considers vessels to house Sandy victims
December 3, 2012
with an urgent need to shelter thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Sandy
in the New York and New Jersey area, Uncle Sam is exploring the feasibility of
housing families on vessels or barges.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a “Request for
Information” to determine whether vessels could be used for temporary housing
while families seek permanent homes. FEMA says vessels could be “single modular
units” that would sleep two to six adults and serve as standalone boats or
interconnected to form a single dwelling.
is interested in getting the maritime industry’s input on designs, capability,
availability and schedules for turnkey contracts. Preference will be given to
agency made it clear that cruise ships are not a housing option. FEMA came
under fire from residents and politicians when it placed first responders and
emergency personnel on cruise ships after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in
2005. For more information contact LaShawn Smith, contracting officer, at LaShawn.Smith@dhs.gov or 202-646-4306.
maritime industry is already deeply involved in the post-Sandy relief effort.
Soon after the storm hit, MARAD assigned several nearby ships to provide
lodging, food and power for emergency response personnel. The TS Empire State, the training vessel
homeported at SUNY Maritime College in Throggs Neck, N.Y., is sheltering FEMA
community relations workers, while MARAD Ready Reserve Fleet vessels SS Wright, out of Baltimore, and the TS Kennedy, out of Massachusetts
Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Mass., are housing FEMA and American Red
at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., also got into the
act. On Nov. 11, a convoy of eight buses took 272 students from Kings Point to
the Rockaways, where midshipmen worked with relief groups to clean houses and
remove sand from area streets. They also helped sort and distribute food
donations and deliver hot meals to elderly residents. The class of 2013
financed the trip.
it did during the Sept. 11 attacks and during Hurricane Katrina, the maritime
industry is again proving its value to the nation, showing that ships and
barges are highly versatile and that the people who operate them are willing to
go above and beyond the call of duty.