Send hurricane relief by sea

By Peter Kent

ShipThe ocean is a natural highway, essentially unaffected by hurricane destruction. “While the sea may be impassable at certain times and locations, it recovers quickly, which isn’t always the situation with land transportation systems after a disaster,” said Clinton Whitehurst Jr., a senior fellow at Clemson’s Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs and lead author of Hurricane Relief from the Sea.

No matter where a hurricane makes landfall, there are deepwater seaports close to the disaster area that can accept relief supplies delivered by sea. A pre-loaded relief ship could reach a disaster area 12 to 36 hours after a storm. By comparison, it took three to five days for significant relief to reach New Orleans by land and air after Hurricane Katrina.

The ships can rely on their own power when electricity is not available on-shore. They can also be adapted for specialized duty, such as providing emergency medical or communications centers, feeding and housing victims and relief personnel, accommodating rescue helicopters and even supplying power to land-based units.

For information: Clint Whitehurst, 864-656-4700,