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Alameda-based tanker headed to Haiti; locals collect aid funds

Submitted by on 1, February 2, 2010 – 5:50 amNo Comment
Photo from the Military Sealift Command website

Photo from the Military Sealift Command website

An Alameda-based Naval tanker is preparing for a trip to Haiti to aid in relief efforts there, Vice Mayor Doug deHaan and Council member Marie Gilmore reported at the tail end of last week’s special council meeting.

The SS Petersburg can provide offshore fueling, a critical need for a country whose piers have been shattered and whose fuel terminals have reportedly been damaged – and whose roads and other infrastructure may not be particularly usable.

The 46-year-old ship, which is part of the Ready Reserve Force in the Navy’s Marine Sealift Command, isn’t fast. (The 49-ton ship’s speed is 14.5 knots, and Gilmore said she’d learned that when the Petersburg does leave for Haiti, it’ll take the ship 16 days to get there.) But it can hold 225,000 barrels of desperately needed fuel and, according to national security strategist and blogger Craig Hooper, pump 1.2 million gallons of fuel a day from as far away as four miles form shore.

Meanwhile, folks here in town are working to raise money for the relief effort. Alameda Journal blogger Janet Levaux reports that La Piñata restaurant is donating a portion of its earnings to the Red Cross’s relief efforts, while the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex is including the effort as one of the causes it will raise funds for at its Valentine’s Rock event on February 13. And Alameda Hospital is conducting a shoe drive for the month of February (you can drop off new or gently worn shoes in their lobby).

Local schools are getting into the act, too: Edison Elementary hosted a change drive and bake sale that raked in $1,119, Franklin is hosting a coin drive and Lum held a fundraising drive that, according to the Sun, netted $1,000. Alameda High School is doing a fundraising drive this week, for Doctors Without Borders.

If you’re looking for another way to pitch in, scroll down to the bottom of the page, where you’ll find a handy, hyperlinked banner ad for the Red Cross’s Haiti relief effort.

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