Harbour services company Foss Maritime, part of the Seattle-based Saltchuk Resources conglomerate, said on Wednesday that it has been contracted by the US government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to join relief and rebuilding efforts in hurricane-hit American territories Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Foss will provide three accommodation vessels to serve as temporary homes for responders and relief workers. These ships will give shelter to 729 of the emergency workers.
Puerto Rico was particularly badly hit by Hurricane Maria, which wiped out the island’s electrical power system.
Other infrastructure damage has made the delivery of relief supplies on land difficult.
The US administration has temporarily waived Jones Act restrictions to facilitate shipping aid to Puerto Rico.
The Act, mandating US ships ply cargo routes between US ports, does not apply to the US Virgin Islands of St Croix, St John and St Thomas, which were heavily pummelled by a one-two punch from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
US President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday.
Jones Act firm TOTE Maritime, a sister company of Foss, is working with Puerto Rico authorities to provide logistical support for the relief effort.
FEMA comes under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).