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.”

24 COMMENTS

  1. I suppose that plans for Ocean’s disposal are too far advanced for any reprieve, and people here who seem to know what they are talking about say that she’s pretty shagged anyway and becoming a liability in terms of costs and maintenance, but I do wonder whether (and hope that) Ocean’s role here in the disaster relief effort is making at least some in government realise what a valuable asset a mid-sized flat-top can be, or if not a full flat-top then at least something of reasonable size with good aviation facilities.

    I’ve been banging on about it quite a bit here recently but maybe expanding the MARS SSS program beyond the currently planned 3 ships and making sure that they have reasonable or good aviation facilities (at least 2 Merlin landing slots, ideally 3, and a basic hangar for at least 3 Merlin but ideally optionally expandable into adjacent vehicle or other storage space to allow more) would seem a reasonably cost-effective way to at least partially make up for some of the lost capabilities when Ocean goes out of service. It isn’t always going to be appropriate or cost-effective to send a 70,000 ton strike carrier out to do disaster relief and with Ocean gone that’s all we’ll be left with if we want serious hangar-ed/maintained helicopter lift capability from a single vessel.

  2. Report in the Times says new defence cuts will include a cut of 1000 royal marine commandos and in future the role of RM commandos will be restricted to arctic mountain warfare and fleet support (ie. RM contingents on RN and RFA ships).

    There will be no amphibious assault capability, therefore no landing ships will be required in the future.

      • Inter service rivalry, the army relinquished it’s amphibious assault role after WW2.

        Only the RM would be allowed this role to ensure their survival as a combat force. Of course the army provides most of combat support, artillery and engineers whose personnel have to complete all arms commando course in addition to their normal training.

  3. I really hope that Times article is wrong.

    Not so long ago I’m pretty we were held in pretty high regard throughout the world for our military forces and the capabilities we had.

    Some of the best Airborne and Amphibious assault troops in the world.

    Now we’re just slowly eroding our capabilities bit by bit. It’s all a bit depressing really. Especially when I see all the money we spank on the Foreign Aid budget and think how much better that could be spent.

  4. HMS Albion recently visited the Netherlands to finalise a series of exercises between the Royal Marines and Dutch Marines over the next few years.
    A wide range of amphibious capabilities will be tested from heliborne ops to landing craft/assault boats etc.
    People who believe anything they read in the British press are mugs .

    • Rather sweeping statement there jack, you maybe right but what seems certain is that the UK MOD has to find savings of £3bn a year for the next 10 years.

      I am sure many proposals have been put forward to address the fiscal problem.

      There will be cuts in defence expenditure, just a matter of where the ace will fall.

    • The amphibious fleet and marines are too far from Portsmouth to be at the forefront of the Admiral’s minds when it comes to which forces should be kept. They would rather stare out of the window at their beloved, laid-up, un-manned, bag of bolts T-45s

  5. As I have always predicted, there are huge defence cuts on the way. This country no longer has the financial means to maintain imperial armed forces. Shout me down and throw abuse at me all you like. Reality will dawn.

    The Royal Marines are due for massive cuts and the amphibious warfare ships struck off in both the navy and RFA.

    John O’Connell, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “If we are ever going to balance the books then it is essential that a culture of delivering best value for money exists across the public sector and the MoD cannot be any different.”

    Standard note:

    Despite comments by other board users, I am not left wing, have never voted Labour or Liberal Democrat and am not a moron. I have paid my mortgage off, have a new car which I bought outright and my wife is not sterile. I do not claim any form of social allowance. I am not Russian. I am a taxpayer

  6. Read about the coming massive cuts in November in the International Business Times:

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/uk-defence-chiefs-may-cut-royal-marines-by-1000-cost-saving-review-1640025

    Standard note:

    Despite comments by other board users, I am not left wing, have never voted Labour or Liberal Democrat and am not a moron. I have paid my mortgage off, have a new car which I bought outright and my wife is not sterile. I do not claim any form of social allowance. I am not Russian. I am a taxpayer

    • TH
      Any chance of an ORIGINAL comment rather than the same old quote-a-link garbage? It’s a bit like an old record player, stuck in the groove and repeating the same line over and over and over and over and….

  7. Read that article in the International Business Times. It really is astonishing just how fast this country has cut its armed forces. When I was in the Royal Navy we had large armed forces and that included the Royals. Now, they have all but gone. I suppose the days of beach landings have gone as well. Probably the wars now are fought on line and ships, tanks, planes and service men aren’t really needed. I’m glad I’m long retired. Never thought I would see our military become smaller than the French though!

  8. To reduce the Royal Marines and their shipping would show how illogical British defence policy has become. In simple terms if you are running a business that needs to make savings you get rid of your least effective and flexible people and assets first. The RM are among the best units we have so there are several infantry units to go first. Cutting them would just prove inter service rivalry is alive and well, whilst the MoD is actually being run by TH.

  9. History DOES have a habit of repeating itself, and it will only take one ‘Major International Incident’ (Korea anyone?) Defence will suddenly become flavour of the month again and ‘black holes’ in budgets will magically vanish. Not saying this would be in any way a good scenario, but it could well happen…and then the TH fraternity will have something else to gripe about.

    • I see this pattern too, before every major event and war in modern British history there have been cuts and set-backs for the armed forces before a sudden reprieve and realisation of the essential service they provide. I’m sure in future we’ll be back up to strength, it’s just a question of how long these humiliating cuts are going to continue for and how awful an event is going to need to transpire to shake some sense into this country

      • “I’m sure in future we’ll be back up to strength”

        I hope you’re right but the trouble is not only money but timing. Capability gaps are dangerous and take time to recover from.

        Right now we’re seeing how long it takes to regenerate a complex capability (carrier strike) and it’s not just rebuilding lost capabilities, ramping personnel numbers is also a challenge. In my business career I have seen the difficulties of rapid staff expansion when the existing staff are so overstretched keeping the existing operation going that they don’t have sufficient time to properly train up new recruits. New people do learn eventually but again it’s a matter of time, it takes them longer to get up to the required level than in they had had the benefit of better initial training. I have no experience of the military but I wouldn’t be surprised if the same effect was present there, especially in the more technical roles.

  10. As a brit who has lived East and very far east of suez for the past 20 years in interesting places all I can say is the ability to reach and land in remote places has never …never…been greater. There are numerous despots out there who’s actions are constrained …not by morals of right or wrong…but simply by the threat and ability and motivation of others to intervene. And the payback of containment far exceeds the capital and human cost of actual hostile poorly equipped intervention.

  11. I cannot see the reason for selling HMS Ocean. In future, what could fulfil here current role? Now I understand the Royal Marines are to be heavily cut back. Beware politicians. There is no increase in the Royal Navy. They talk of the new frigates types 26/31 but they are not additions, they are replacements. It seems we have given up much for the two new carriers.

  12. Royal Marines being considered for a 1,000-troop cut.

    Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/opinion/government-needs-get-grip-defence/

    Standard note:

    To refute comments made against me by other board users, I am not left wing, have never voted Labour or Liberal Democrat and am not a moron. I have paid my mortgage off, have a new car which I bought outright and my wife is not sterile. I do not claim any form of social allowance. I am not Russian nor North Korean. I am a UK taxpayer

  13. It appears that Neville Chamberlain is in power again. Remember the peace in our time statement. The military do not get votes therefore they are expendable. Considering the times that we live in now they should be increasing the size of the Navy and Royal Marines.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here