US Coast Guard counter-narcotics experts have joined the British vessel to help prevent illegal drugs from South and Central America reaching North America and the wider world, say the Royal Navy.

In a release, the Royal Navy say that Mounts Bay, which was built to provide the Royal Marines with amphibious support on operations around the globe, is the UK’s long-term naval presence in the Caribbean, dedicating the summer and autumn to disaster relief operations in the wake of hurricanes which strike with devastating frequency.

Captain Angus Bissell said:

“Having completed our training and integration package with the US Coast Guard teams we are very much looking forward to supporting law enforcement and security in the Caribbean.”

The US Coast Guard’s HITRON – Helicopter Interdiction Tactical squadRON – and its counter-narcotics boarding team, the LEDET (Legal Enforcement DETachment) – were the assets that joined the vessel.

“They joined the ship in Miami, where she spent Christmas and New Year undergoing a spot of maintenance, before sailing for the Dutch territory of Curacao.

The ship and Coast Guard teams used the 1,200-mile crossing to hone combined skills and get used to each other’s ways of working and different equipment.”

The Royal Navy also say that LEDET will conduct most board-and-search operations by boat, so Mounts Bay’s Pacific 24 took them out for a ‘spin’ to give them an idea of its speed, manoeuvrability and, most importantly, disembarking to search a suspect craft.

14 COMMENTS

  1. So this base that Gavin Williamson says the MoD is thinking of plopping in Guyana or Montserrat would be like a FOB for Mounts Bay and disaster relief right? Can’t think of another utility for it, other than some gunboat diplomacy

    • We should have a RN base in the Caribbean but in a British teritory and permanently base a new OPV there for anti drugs, that’s the perfect use of the new OPVs. We actually did used to have a Royal Navy base in Bermuda that had a dry dock for repair and acomadation for crew ect but we closed it just like Gibraltar and the rest in the Middle East ect.

      • Agreed. Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory and Guyana is a member of the Commonwealth.

        It would be interesting to see more mainstream B.O.Ts suggested for the base though such as Bermuda or the Caymans

        • I’m still not too sure if Montserrat is the best option, with limited facilities and an active volcano on the island. Nevertheless, it could prove economically beneficial for the local economy.

          Bermuda might be a good choice, Belize too, which already houses a British base and remains a Commonwealth realm. That too could be beneficial, if we follow the ‘Bahrain Model’ – in that we design what we want, and the host government builds and pays for it for us. That arrangement has given us quite a tidy little naval support facility in Bahrain.

          Wherever it’s built, there’s going to be a chorus of environmentalists with their concerns. But I can see a base such as this being used to help support a deployed RFA for hurricane relief, and perhaps being used by one or two forward deployed OPVs on patrol for drug traffickers (and a deployed OPV would still prove a useful asset during hurricane season).

  2. I love the bay class ships, if they had a dedicated hangar I would love them even more, but that temp hangar seems to be fine on RFA cardigan bay. They are a great asset for the UK, and act as great motherships for OPVs, mine hunters ect then there’s the amphibious role they play, we need multi role ships like these to get the biggest bang for our buck. I hope we always have ships just like these or better like that Dutch designed ship. it’s a shame we sold one but 3 is far better than 1.

  3. Cam, The Fight against Drugs Is well and Truly Lost. Heck, even the River Thames Elver population are High on Cocaine, apparently. Or so I read a few days ago. Another reason not to Visit that Great Crap Hole of a once great City.

    • To fight drugs we all should take a lesson from history. Specifically from the 1920s and the USA Prohibition Period. The Prohibition was about alcohol and it failed. The same thing is happening with the “War on Drugs.” It’s stupid, and its wasteful.

      The best way to fight it is to legalize it and then tax the s%^t out of it. Some countries have large taxes on alcohol and tobacco products. Do the same for all drugs. Use the funds from the taxes on them to pay for Recovery Centres, Help Centres, and for promoting anti-drug and addiction campaigns. Take a look at those countries that have legalized drugs. Look how the people have benefitted from it.

      Why isn’t this the norm then? Because of the Drug Cartels and Organized Crime Syndicates. They will be the first to go out of business if all drugs were legalized and controlled. They know this so they pump money into promoting the current “War on Drugs” and keeping them illegal.

      “Take a bite out of Crime! Legalize All Drugs!”

      Just my humble opinion.

  4. Do the Americans really need our platform to base a team off? Might seem a dumb question, but I am really curious.

    Should the UK actually achieve Brexit, it really has to re-visit defence funding because we need a significant increase on naval platforms with sufficient manning to keep them afloat and ensure time for crew to have with families. Furthermore, creating a base facility might increase the happiness of crews if families are allowed to travel with them – not sure are they accompanied tours in Bahrain?

    • Riga. The Army and RAF would fight any proposal to prioritise the RN to the death. Each service gets roughly a third of the total defence budget and will continue to. The services all need reform the Navy is. The army will. The weak link is the RAF. I have the deepest sympathy for whoever gets the job of cleaning up the augean stables that is the RAF. But whether they do or don’t is out of anyone elses hands.

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