Mersey firms reach out to people stricken by Caribbean volcano

Members of industry body Mersey Maritime have responded to an appeal by the Liverpool Commonwealth Association to help those affected by the eruption of La Soufrière in St Vincent. Tony McDonough reports

St Vincent
Eruption of La Soufrière in St Vincent and the Grenadines has forced thousands to flee their homes


Liverpool city region’s maritime sector has swung into action to offer vital supplies to tens of thousands of people left stricken by the eruption of a volcano in Caribbean island of St Vincent.

Merseyside businessman Garth Dallas, chair of the Liverpool Commonwealth Association, has asked for the businesses across Merseyside to support the relief effort following the initial eruption of La Soufrière in St Vincent and the Grenadines which experts believe will continue for several weeks.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and their plight has triggered an urgent relief effort. Thousands of people are staying in official Government shelters and officials fear the threat of the spread of COVID-19 is complicating an already fraught situation.

Garth contacted industry body Mersey Maritime to seek donations of vital goods such as blankets, baby clothes , tinned food, PPE, mattresses, powdered milk, toothbrushes, toothpaste and many other items. He is aiming to fill a shipping container and he also sought logistical support to get the container out to St Vincent.

The maritime sector’s response was swift. Mersey Maritime’s chief executive, Chris Shirling-Rooke, explained: “As soon as Garth got in touch we were eager to help. Our friends at the Royal Navy then directed us towards a shipping company called Kestrel Shipping Lines.

“Kestrel is sailing to St Vincent every week with supplies to the island. Two of our members, Peel Ports and Denholm Logistics, have agreed to help with the container at this end. Once it is filled Denholm will then get it down to Portsmouth from where it will be shipped out to the Caribbean.

“Other Mersey Maritime members, such as Kays Medical, are also contributing to the effort. This isn’t the first time our maritime community has come together to offer a helping hand to those in need and I could not be prouder of our sector.

“Our Caribbean and greater Commonwealth family are a vital part of this country’s lifeline with tens of thousands working as seafarers all over the World.”

Garth Dallas added: “It is at times such as this, when some of our most vulnerable small island states have been affected by immense suffering and disruption, that Commonwealth solidarity and support are most needed and most valued.

“The Liverpool Commonwealth Association is recognised for our willingness to support in such situations. For example, Hurricane Irma (2017) BVI, Hurricane Dorian (2019) Bahamas, and Cyclone Idai (2019) Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

“We are pleased that again we are able to support our Commonwealth family in St Vincent and the Grenadines during this latest tragedy.”

The Liverpool Commonwealth Association is coordinating the relief effort in the Liverpool city region. Emergency items are being collected at Crawford House, Upper Warwick Street, L8 8DN. For more information call 07402 887596 or email:

Items can also be left at Mersey Maritime, 3 Vanguard Way, Birkenhead CH41 9HX.

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