Hurricane Katrina relief efforts continue

CARROLLTON, Texas, BETHESDA, Md., Annapolis, Md. – Tohatsu America Corp., Iridium Satellite LLC and Sunsail are working to lend aid to victims of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, the companies reported in separate press releases.

TAC said late last week that for every dollar donated to the American Red Cross for the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts by its Tohatsu Outboard and Nissan Marine dealers between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15, 2005, it will match the donation, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $25,000.

Tohatsu has also offered to donate outboard motors and portable fire pumps to FEMA as well.

“The recent disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina has left countless people in dire need of our help,” Hiro Wakabayashi, president of TAC, told dealers, the company reported. “We strongly believe in the work the American Red Cross is performing in the affected areas and we want to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina in any way we can.”

Iridium increases production

Iridium Satellite LLC said it had already begun ensuring end users and service providers would be able to fully respond to the looming disaster, even as Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Iridium said it moved mobile satellite communications equipment into the hands of first responders at the federal, state and local levels, and that its largest customer, the U.S. Government, already had thousands of satellite phones available for deployment into the disaster area.

In just the first 72 hours of the disaster, Iridium traffic in the region increased more than 3,000 percent, while the number of subscribers increased more than 500 percent.

“Iridium has been extremely concerned about the well-being of the hurricane victims,” Carmen Lloyd, Iridium chairman and CEO said. “Our partners, suppliers and employees have worked round-the-clock to ensure that equipment was in the hands of those who needed it most. We’ve got a steadfast commitment to continue these efforts.

To help Iridium meet this increased demand, the Federal Communications Commission granted use of additional spectrum to accommodate network traffic and minimize the risk of congestion resulting from Hurricane Katrina.

The company said demand for Iridium satellite phones has been extraordinary, causing it to shift to a 24×7 manufacturing schedule. Working extensively with, FedEx, Iridium said it has been able to quickly move equipment directly from the manufacturing facility into the field.

Sunsail donates auction proceeds

Sunsail has joined Sail Newport and the Sail for Hope regatta by donating for auction a 7-night Caribbean yacht charter vacation. Proceeds from the event will be given to the American Red Cross.

The vacation is for a bareboat Sunsail Oceanis 411, a 41-foot sailing yacht that has a three-cabin configuration. The winning bidder will have their choice of sailing in the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Martinique, or St. Vincent.

The auction event will take place Oct. 1 in Narragansett Bay, R.I, during the social after the Sail for Hope regatta. Sail Newport will organize the event and collect financial donations. Sail for Hope donations will pay for food, clothing, shelter and medicine for the victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The Rhode Island Red Cross Chapter will retain ten percent of the event’s total financial gift in a local fund for future Ocean State relief services as the organizers have requested.

“The overall impact that Katrina has had on the people of the Gulf Coast region is inconceivable, and Sunsail is committed to doing our part to help in any way we can,” said Peter Cook, general manager of Sunsail USA. “We were looking for a way to donate our services and the Sail for Hope regatta has provided the perfect opportunity.”

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