The United States Department of Homeland Security may be adding more cruise ship berths as soon as next week, as FEMA is poised to add additional charter ships to its portfolio following extensive damage to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico from recent hurricanes, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Earlier this week FEMA chartered Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Celebration for a period of three months to house the National Guard in St. Thomas.
Now, following more damage to Puerto Rico, which could result in months of power outages on the island, FEMA is weighing additional cruise ship assets to be used as temporary housing for aid workers and other key first responders.
FEMA is being put to the test, first dealing with Hurricane Harvey, followed closely by Irma and Maria. Following Harvey and Irma, FEMA said it was the first time the agency had to respond in the wake of two category 4 or higher hurricanes at the same time, not including this week’s Hurricane Maria.
Following Irma, FEMA reached out to other federal agencies for additional emergency workers, part of the agency’s so-called surge capacity force.