HMCS St. John's prepared to assist with Hurricane Irma relief
Published Wednesday, September 6, 2017 1:02PM ADT
A senior source in Ottawa has confirmed to CTV News that HMCS St. John’s is on standby to help with Hurricane Irma relief, if requested.
There has been no request for assistance, or order for HMCS St. John’s to deploy at this time, but planning is underway in case.
The Halifax-based navy frigate is being prepared for possible deployment and could leave as early as Thursday afternoon.
The vessel recently returned to Halifax on July 17 following a six-month deployment with NATO forces in Europe.
Hurricane Irma prompts travel advisories
Hurricane Irma is said to be the strongest Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever recorded. It roared into the Caribbean with record force early Wednesday, shaking homes and flooding buildings on a chain of small islands along a path toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba.
President Donald Trump has declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and authorities in the Bahamas said they would evacuate six southern islands.
The Canadian government has issued a slew of travel advisories for areas in the path of Hurricane Irma.
Canadians are being told to avoid all travel to Guadeloupe, Sint Maarten, Puerto Rico, Saint-Barthemely, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saint Martin, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the Florida Keys.
The government also recommends avoiding non-essential travel to Turks and Caicos. That warning also remains in place for southeast Texas, where cleanup is still underway from Hurricane Harvey.
Additionally, Canadians are being told to exercise a high degree of caution when visiting Haiti, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
Air Transat has launched an evacuation operation to get all its travellers out of the Dominican Republic.
The Montreal-based airline says it is sending 10 aircraft to the Caribbean nation - seven to Punta Cana, two to Puerto Plata and one to Samana.
Air Transat says all aircraft should arrive in the Dominican Republic by Wednesday morning and passengers should be back in Canada by afternoon or early evening.
With files from CTVNews.ca, The Associated Press, and the Canadian Press