Canadian Navy ships that are headed to deliver aid to the U.S. Gulf Coast have been slowed by two hurricanes developing in the Atlantic Ocean.
HMCS Athabaskan, a destroyer, two frigates and a Coast Guard icebreaker headed farther out into the Atlantic Ocean to avoid Hurricane Ophelia off the Florida coast while watching Hurricane Nate further east in the Atlantic.
The ships, loaded with tons of relief supplies, along with 1,000 sailors, were expected to arrive in the gulf today.
Canada dedicated the vessels and three Sea King helicopters to help in the reconstruction and recovery effort after Hurricane Katrina.
Crews may be in the region as long as three months, delivering supplies, helping restore power and clearing wreckage.
HMCS Preserver, sent to Florida in 1992 to provide relief from Hurricane Andrew, was unable to make this trip as it is in port in Halifax with mechanical problems after a refit.
Meanwhile, thousands of Canadians have joined the rescue effort, including Mounties, police and firefighters, power workers, doctors and Red Cross volunteers.
The Canadian Red Cross has collected several million dollars in donations and numerous universities have opened their doors to storm-affected students.