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Shrimp boats taking supplies to hurricane victims
NBC2 News
Posted on: Tuesday, September 13, 2005

FORT MYERS BEACH A research boat, the MV Diamond, will lead a fleet of shrimp boats full of supplies to the Gulf coast to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The twenty shrimp boats are just sitting, waiting to be packed with water, food and clothing for victims. Once all the boats are filled, they will head to up north.

"We look for ancient ship wrecks," said Captain Mark Palmer.

This time they'll be looking at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Palmer and his crew will get the first pictures of damaged oil rigs. Those images will come from a pair of underwater eyes or side scan sonar.

"We can see things as small as a teacup, anything that's down there," said Palmer.

He's expecting the damage to be extensive.

Palmer drags the sonar behind the boat and watches a monitor in the ships navigation room.

Palmer's boat is 105 feet long and takes 9,100 gallons of fuel. The boat has been on missions all over the world. But this latest task is a new one.

"We've taken supplies to Haiti because we've been working down there all year, to the poor people down there, but we've never done it in the states," said Palmer.

Palmer mapped out his journey from Fort Myers Beach. His destination is 300 miles away.

"So it's going to take us 30 hours," said Palmer.

A long trip in close quarters, but the trip will be even longer when you add the anticipation. Palmer knows when he arrives, he'll see things he has never seen before.

"Never, never, never, not this bad. You know I've seen stuff but not this bad," said Palmer.

In all the bad, he hopes to do some good.

Even though Palmer's ship is huge, there isn't a lot of room. Once he adds more equipment and a team of scientists, it will get even smaller.

All of the fuel for Palmer's trip has been donated, but the shrimp boats could use some more. Organizers are asking for money to help get the boats where they need to go.

If you would like to make a donation, take donations to 1101 Shrimp Boat Lane, Fort Myers Beach or call 765-1828 or 463-8788.

2005 by . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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