Department: Department of Disaster Management
Captain of the International Maritime Organisation-recognised training platform vessel the MV Freewinds paid a courtesy call on His Excellency the Acting Governor David Archer, Jr. and then-Acting Premier, and Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone on Tuesday.
Captain Mike Napier shared his ship and crew’s qualifications with local officials and outlined plans for partnering with Virgin Islands agencies to provide internationally recognised training. The agencies include the Department of Disaster Management, the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, the BVI Ports Authority, Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services, and Virgin Islands Search and Rescue.
The Acting Governor expressed his gratitude to the Freewinds representatives, and encouraged them to continue their exemplary service.
Mr. Archer said, “I am very impressed with what you are doing; that you are part of the community, not just making a call and bringing in passengers to enjoy our shores, but you are helping and serving while you are here.”
The Acting Premier echoed those sentiments, and added that as Minister for Health, he was particularly pleased to hear that traveler health considerations are part of the ship exercise offerings.
Mr. Malone said, “Globally, we are concerned about diseases like the latest Coronavirus. I think we have a number of protocols in place that are appropriate, but it’s encouraging to know that these measures are being followed and tested by the vessels.”
Mr. Napier has led the vessel for approximately 30 years, and explained that while they have responsibility to respond to port and ship emergencies, few Caribbean emergency response or port security agencies have had the opportunity to work with cruise ships.
“We want to share knowledge,” Mr. Napier said, adding, “It originally developed from a necessity that we saw among the destinations, which we observed because we are part of the communities that we visit.”
MV Freewinds Port Captain Ken Weber, who also attended the courtesy call, added that the training fits well with the ship’s various “social betterment activities,” such as human rights education and anti-drug abuse presentations for children.
The ship is based in Clearwater, Florida, and first came to the Territory in 1989. It is set to return to the Territory this summer.
Photo included: MV Freewinds Captain Mike Napier and Port Captain Ken Weber presented gifts to Acting Governor David Archer Jr. and Acting Premier Carvin Malone on Feb. 18th.