HMS Ocean and her embarked helicopters have been carrying out training whilst heading for the Caribbean.
The helicopter carrier has been tasked to support the government’s Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR), providing assistance in the aftermath of Hurricanes IRMA and JOSE.
The HADR team on board HMS Ocean currently includes Royal Marines, Medics, and Engineers, specialising in electronic, mechanical, structural disciplines as well as damage control experts. More personnel and supplies are being embarked in Gibraltar to further enhance these capabilities.
HMS Ocean carries a large tailored Air Wing of Royal Navy and Joint Helicopter Command Helicopters and with four landing craft, will be able to make a significant contribution to the recovery and reconstruction effort.
HMS Ocean loaded 200 pallets of UK Aid and 60 pallets of Emergency Relief Stores (ERS) before sailing. These contain power tools to help rebuild communities, emergency shelters for those left homeless as well as items such as water purification kits and nappies.
According to the MoD, the ship is able to provide:
- Clothes for more than 500 people, ranging from new born children to adults
- Shower and toilet facilities
- Medical aid. The onboard team can provide everything from immediate life saving intervention, outreach medical clinics including vaccinations and preventative environmental health advice to tackle communicable disease.
- Surgical facilities
- Engineering capability and equipment to repair buildings and create shelters, as well as the ability to dig trenches and other ground works to re-establish local infrastructure
- 8MW of power generation capacity – approx enough to power 8000 homes
- 300 tonnes of fresh water produced daily
- Over 650 highly trained engineers, logisticians, medical staff and Royal Marines
- Dozens of all terrain vehicles vehicle held onboard to include tracked vehicles.
- An air wing comprising 10 helicopters to include Chinook, Merlin and Wildcat.
- Enough communications to coordinate complex operations in multiple displaced ground locations from the sea or alongside.
Commanding Officer of HMS Ocean Captain Robert Pedre said:
“My ship’s company is extremely motivated and ready to join UK units already in the Caribbean to deliver humanitarian assistance and conduct disaster relief in this FCO and DfID led operation.
HMS Ocean has made a brief stop alongside Gibraltar to embark extra stores, equipment and personnel to complement that which is already in the Caribbean or en route to the area. The ship has trained extensively for this type of operation; we are primed and ready to go.”