Newport News scallop boat captain embarking on 800-mile voyage to Bahamas for disaster relief

Posted at 1:33 PM, Sep 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 13:41:10-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - It's literally all hands on deck aboard the Ocean Fox in Newport News.

"Put the water right there; the next pallet is coming in," yells a crew mate.

The boat that calls Newport News its homeport is gearing up for a never-before-done 800-mile voyage.

"So, we are gonna leave the Bay, get down off Cape Fear and go south to the Bahamas," said Captain Buck Ford.

Ford, a 40-year veteran of the waterways, has been busy buttoning up his four-day trek on the 92-foot scallop boat.

"We got a lot done, but we still have more to do. It's pretty bad down there, so it's time to help," said Ford from the wheelhouse.

This is no fishing trip, but a mission to deliver much-needed bounty to those living on the Abaco Islands.

"These people have lost their homes and their businesses, too," said Ford.

Ford's boat will leave Friday and head to Grand Cay, part of the Abaco, which is a tiny fishing village home to less than 400 people. It's an island completely devastated, and one that has no food or relief supplies.

Related: Virginia Beach woman takes action for Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian

"This boat will have hand tools on it, paper supplies, cleaning supplies, basic provisions, more than 40,000 bottles of water these people will need," said Rick Robins with the Chesapeake Bay Packing Company.

Vendors like the Chesapeake Bay Packing and other businesses in Newport News have been collecting the boatload of supplies since Dorian left its destructive mark.

The Ocean Fox hopes to be a beacon of light this remote community is desperate for.

"We are like big families in the fishing community. Everyone helps each other out," said Ford.

"I think it's great to see these local captains out of Newport News standing up and going down there to do everything possible within their power to help these families," said Robins.

Next week, a second scallop boat called the Ocean Scout, also out of Newport News, will make a second trip. That boat will be loaded with food and canned goods.

If you would like to help contact Chesapeake Bay Packing at (757) 244-8400

Click here for more Dorian coverage.