Operation Topaz Brings Relief after Hurricane Dorian

13 September 2019 By Laura Shaughnessy, By Aileen Mack

On September 12, YachtAid Global (YAG) held a press conference at Lauderdale Marine Center to address relief efforts for Bahamians who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Dubbed Operation Topaz, YAG and others are focused on disaster and humanitarian relief for The Bahamas. So far, about 14 superyachts over 100 feet have deployed to the Abacos and Grand Bahama islands in order to deliver aid and relief to these devastated areas.

Following Hurricane Dorian’s savage impact, several humanitarians loaded up superyachts with diesel, gasoline, fresh drinking water (which is made aboard vessels using reverse osmosis equipment), food, and other necessities, plus disaster relief workers. Operation Topaz even provides broadband satellite communications equipment and electrical outlets, enabling victims to charge smart devices and get in touch with loved ones. To ensure aid gets delivered efficiently, YAG has an emergency management coordinator on site in Nassau who works directly with NEMA and certified NGOs.

M/Y Loon was a first responder in the Abacos and worked with a specialized emergency response team from Global Support and Development (GSD) to make a strong team of 28, providing tons of aid and clearing 30 miles of roads. In a pre-recorded video, Ben Harrison of GSD said, “The captain and crew [of Loon] went above and beyond the call of duty in their commitment to this cause.” Harrison also thanked YachtAid Global for their help in providing disaster relief and humanitarian aid because without them, none of it would have been possible and countless lives would have been lost.

M/V Pacific Hope, a hospital ship providing medical care, joined the operation by bringing volunteer doctors to the area. After dropping off more than 30 tons of supplies, M/Y Laurel rescued 50 dogs by transporting them to Rybovich Superyacht Marina, where they were then taken to Big Dog Ranch Rescue. Many of the dogs’ owners are still missing, have been rescued or evacuated, or are unable to care for their pets.

“There’s no reason that every superyacht shouldn’t do this. If we had rolled into Marsh Harbor with ten superyachts, it would be a totally different place than what it is now. Just a little bit of fuel and a little bit of hard work, and they went a long way,” says Capt. Paul Clarke of M/Y Loon. “So next time I hope that with us and with Laurel, we have inspired other crew and other boats to get involved. It was great to be there. It was great to help. It’s easy. It really is. So everyone should be doing it.”

Leonard Stuart of the Bahamas tourist office says, “The Bahamas is open…We would like to spread the word to continue not only with going to The Bahamas, but we hope at the end of this with the continuation of relief effort that we’ll be able to go back to the Grand Bahama and the Abaco islands and the joyous occasion where we would have a great, great flotilla of boaters and yachters to the islands of the Bahamas.”

To get in touch with YAG, call them at +1 619 630 4626 or email them at