Newspaper ‘The Morning Star’ has astonishingly suggested that RFA Mounts Bay is in the Caribbean to take part in an invasion of Venezuela.

The outlet acknowledges in the article that the Royal Navy claims the vessel is working on counternarcotics operations with the US Southern Command,  however, it then creates a very tenuous link to any potential action, referring to the work with US Southern Command, saying “it is this branch of the Pentagon that would lead any attack on Venezuela”.

The vessel and others like her work with US Southern Command on every deployment for many years. They have yet to invade Venezuela.

The story revolves around quotes from Venezuela Solidarity Campaign secretary Francisco Dominguez, who told the Morning Star:

“We are extremely concerned that Britain may join any military attack unleashed by the US against Venezuela.”

Another of the quotes used is from Stop the War Coalition campaigner Mayer Wakefield, saying:

“Britain’s recent history of catastrophic military interventions should rule out any UK participation in Donald Trump’s attempts to destabilise a democratically elected government in Venezuela.


The trouble is, this “troop ship” that’s to be used in some sort of military action is operating in a disaster relief role and is incapable of single handedly invading a country like Venezuela.

RFA Mounts Bay in the Carribean last year.

The Bay class are operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and are officially designated as ‘Landing Ship Docks’, however, they often act as platforms for disaster relief or as motherships for mine countermeasure vessels.

RFA Mounts Bay deployed to the Caribbean to provide support during the 2017 hurricane season. She was tasked to assist in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations at Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

Even as recently as last week, ateam deployed to the auxiliary were reportedly conducting a training exercise when the helicopter’s crew spotted a bale of drugs bobbing in the water.

According to the Royal Navy, the boarding team then recovered the object, tested the contents and reported that the bale contained around 50lbs (22kg) of marijuana – worth upwards of £4m to dealers in the UK.

“The Bay-class ship embarked a Dolphin helicopter from the US Coast Guard’s HITRON – Helicopter Interdiction Tactical squadRON – and its counter-narcotics boarding team, the LEDET (Legal Enforcement DETachment) – earlier this month. The bale was subsequently handed over to a US Coast Guard cutter Isaac Mayo for destruction.”

Captain Angus Bissell, RFA Mounts Bay’s Commanding Officer, said:

“This demonstrated that UK and US forces working in partnership, a great unity of effort, are committed to – and showing success in reducing – the flow of drugs throughout the Wider Caribbean Region.”

RFA Mounts Bay is the UK’s long-term naval presence in the Caribbean, dedicating her summers and autumns to disaster relief operations in the wake of hurricanes which strike with devastating frequency, while the rest of her year is focused on counter drugs patrols.

What about Belize?

The article goes into detail regarding Belize, saying:

“Meanwhile, British marines are conducting jungle warfare training in Belize. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has described their deployment as routine.

Initially, the marines were based at British Army Training Support Unit Belize, a permanent base adjacent to the country’s international airport.”

Belize isn’t a jumping off point for an invasion, it hosts the British Army Training Support Unit. The British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) is manned by 12 permanent staff and employs more than 100 local civilians.

The garrison is used primarily for jungle warfare training, with access to over 5,000 square miles of jungle terrain, provided by the Government of Belize.

But why are troops there?

The Unit carries out up to five dismounted close combat exercises per year, of varying size, as well as hosting the final exercise of the notoriously tough British Army Platoon Commander’s Battle Course, which runs three times a year. It has been doing this for decades.

What about the “military aircraft” mentioned?

The article also cites a recent trip to the region by an RAF transport aircraft as further potential evidence of upcoming British military action.

“On February 2 the RAF released aerial photos of the Belize coastline, saying that its personnel were supporting “army exercises in Central America”

The trouble with this? It happens frequently every per year and has done for decades.

What does this all mean?

The claim that an auxiliary vessel equipped for disaster relief, 60 troops and a singular transport aircraft that is now back in the UK constitutes a realistic contribution to an invasion of Venezuela is absurd.

It seems to me that someone who is unfamiliar with British military deployments has taken something that has gone on for a very long time as a reaction to recent events.

45 COMMENTS

  1. It’s interesting reading about the role of RFA Mounts Bay – counter narcotics, boarding drugs ships, landing ship, work with US Southern command, isn’t this what warships do. I presume they are all armed. By that definition then the RFA ships should be classed as warships and should be built in the UK:
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/235377

    If only the Government had to nerve to call the warships

    • The Bay class are not war-ships, just like the police are not war-riors, even though they do counter narcotics.

      …although I like the cut of your jib with regard to the petition 🙂

  2. Morning Star newspaper is a joke!

    Just a load of socialist nonsense. And the only reason they spout about Venezuela’s “democratically elected government” is because it is also socialist.

    Not that I’m advocating any action against Venezuela. But it’s just a case of the lefties who write & read that socialist rag hating Britain and anything we do. Or don’t do.

  3. Morning Star??

    Is that a mouthpiece of the Socialist Workers Party, and various other loons, communists, and far left extremists that identify with a bloke called Corbyn, who might and up PM?

    Assisted by Diane Abbot, and a chancellor who wants the IRA honoured, and tried to inncite riots on the streets of London after Grenfell.

    Oh and let’s not forget Thornbury, shadow FCS who says those flying England flags are racist. After that little episode I purposely flew as many union flags and England flags as I could find!

    Problem is some people will believe the nonsense these people come out with.

    • Indeed. I could not agree more. The problem is that those that are staunchly socialist (ie verging on communist) see anyone that is not as fanatical as they are as their enemy. I recently spoke to someone I work with that went to a Momentum Meeting (they have been a labour party member for decades and wanted to know more about the corbyn supporting side that is coming through). They merely had the audacity to question something quite trivial and were shouted at and called a fascist. After a load more abuse they felt so intimidated that they decided to leave the meeting… There is a frightening future ahead if Corbyn gets in. Lets hope all the moderates in Labour leave and form a new party.

        • Im a simple naive lad, but I’m getting some ‘Corbyn is a loony leftie aging hippy out of touch, please god don’t let him ruin our economy like his mates did a few years back’ vibes from people?

          Sort of like the vibes I get from people here in regards to Jimmy Krankee, Feel em up Salmond and the SNP

      • Agree with all of that Lee1.

        It is indeed worrying. I just pray that if he gets into power people’s, and my, worries are unfounded.

        The current shower are admittedly not great either.

        Depressing.

      • Some of us remember Militant from years past a scary bunch who covered one dimensional violent natures and political extremism with the same veneer of civilisation as the Corbynista fed Momentum. Indeed I would simply claim it to be a mild rebrand. This present effort from the Morning Star mirrors the deluded performance of Ken Livingstone on TV last week where he invented whole non existent sanctions against Venezuela because apparently that’s what the Ambassador told him and then went on to claim their whole economic decline were due to these imaginary US sanctions despite it being expained that in fact the US was the biggest importer of their oil. When asked to detail these sanctions he said something go the effect of I’m an old man you can’t expect me to know all the facts. Or indeed any he hadn’t made up it seems.

    • Don’t ‘rabble-rouse’, it’s pointless….How many people read the Morning Star, very few I suspect. Just another cage rattling exercise by this site for the ‘usual reactionaries’ to jump up and down. Laughable….and so predictable!!!

      • Oh..and Lee 1, I agree about your comments about intolerance in the Labour Party. I have experienced this personally at a Corbyn support demonstration in Parliament Square. Mind you, I suspect that it was an SWP event and not mainstream Labour!

      • “Reactionaries”

        Ever been to a Tory or UKIP hustings and seen what “Reactionaries” are outside shouting abuse?

        Works both ways sunshine.

        “Laughable” What is laughable is the original article.
        “Predictable” Yep. That I would comment. And of course that You would suddenly appear to comment on it.

        I’ll stick to exchanging views with Lee1 thanks.

        • You write ‘problem is some people will believe the nonsense these people come out with’…so do you chum…hook line and bloody sinker! You just don’t get it!

          • Or the Guardian sadly these days where fast tracking the children of editors is performed without a sniff of irony. The manipulation of news has taken sides and little of it represents a true quest for objective news these days in the media. Even the BBC is going down the path of popularism in much of its output certainly outside its bastions of serious news gathering, as its serious journalists retire to be replaced by many who have all the gravitas of the Beckhams.

  4. Some people just can’t admit that Venezuela is just one more failed socialist state. So they blame the west, particularly the US and Britain instead. No grip on reality.

  5. It’s a shame we aren’t Invading, We haven’t Invaded anyone for Years now, It’s not fair, Roll on Brexit, then We’ll be able to go Bang some heads and get our “Empire” back, lol, that should do it.!!!!

    TH, Dust off yer Bagpipes mate, We will be needing you shortly.

    • Actually, I can see that happening (conspiracy theory)….Trump and May unite to divert public opinion away from Impeachment & Brexit. Massive victory over bankrupt 3rd World State…a grateful US & UK public return their glorious leaders in sweeping election victories. Well, it worked for Margaret!

      • No. The Falklands War was comparatively short and the result was clear cut. Subsequently wars the US and Britain, and other allies have been involved in such as the Iraq war which the Labour party took us into have been longer and a lot more messy.
        Those wetting their little pink knickers over this they should calm down. We aren’t heading to Venezuela.
        The socialist government there have already destroyed their own country without help from outside.

      • Herodotus, Maggie Didn’t order the Invasion of the Falklands mate, She Ordered the Re Taking of them. It’s probably her best Decision, Truth be Known.

        So sad for the Lads that paid the Ultimate price though.

        Lest we ever forget.

      • At one point Venezuala was within 40% the wealth of the U.K. A wonderful example of how to grasp disaster from the jaws of victory but precictable none the less. The fact It has actually become a third world nation after this beacon of hope shows the depths to which it has sunk due to the hubris of its ruling class. Power corrupts and in Venezuala it certainly corrupted as completely as any. Socialist or otherwise you would have to be the greatest of fools or as bent on corupt political dogma as it is possible to be to not see that. The true irony is that the official opposition to the regime are socialists while the President and his cronies are nothing more than a fascist cabal being held together by the support of the drug lords and other criminal elements. As for invasion it isn’t even an option the rabble rousing is being spewed by the MS for its own malicious purposes.

        • I hope that your comments are read and understood by some on this HYS. Too many people want to bandy-about terms like socialism or fascism without really understanding what they are talking about. Corruption is no respecter of political ideology….the government of Venezuela is corrupt because it contains self-serving people with their heads in the trough. This is a feature of regimes across the political spectrum…..it is also not unknown in this country. I’m sure that the MS is trying to do what it has always done, identify capitalist conspiracies. Not many people take their claims seriously but it is, at least, a voice on the left in a largely centre-right dominated press. I think that I would be more worried if their were no MS …..after all, our democracy is based on plurality!

    • I’ll be there with my nicely varnished Lee Enfield No. 4 rifle, cleaning kit and ’37 pattern belt all polished and ready to go. I’d better dig out the blanco and gaiters as well. Who’s going to be the Gunnery Officer?

  6. The Morning Star may be partly correct here, we may see the Mounts bringing all here resources to bear on the Venezuelan people and it’s entirely likely that the marines and RAF would be involved.
    I personally wouldn’t object to the Venezuelan people getting exactly what they deserve.
    Food, medical care…

  7. Was about to go into full rant mode but you guys have said it all. Just a bit of history. Outside of Albania pretty sure it was the last publication on the planet to defend Stalin. Even long after Pravda had given up trying to defend his reputation.

  8. The only place Mounts Bay is likely to invade are the beaches in the Caymans or Turks and Caicos. Seriously, if things went all to hell in Venezuela, she might be used to rescue civilians or reinforce the embassy in Caracas.

  9. Visited Venezuela in 1986 as part of Global 86 deployment. Great people, huge hospitality although saw some terrible poverty. Such a shame it is in this state. Interestingly we were onboard RFA Fort Grange and had to remove all weapons and disguise the flight deck Sea King so is not to look like a wsrship. The port had the international maximum of foriegn warships (3) berthed.

  10. So as this is a none story ( apart from the suffering of the poor of Venezuela and a clear reminder that the ruling classes of any nation always need the threat of something nasty to keep them honest).

    If we are going to bash papers, I suggest doing what I do and buy the Timtelian,it’s a long read but at least you get a good balanced view( ish).

  11. When there’s a story involving ships being somewhere I always find it edifying to see what the journos use by way of a picture.

    If you remember a couple of years ago when the Spanish were being objectionable over Gibraltar (although this doesn’t really narrow it down) and the RN were apparently sending a fleet (they actually were sending a lot of ships (including Illustrious, a couple of frigates, a Bay-class and a Wave- class, amongst others) that way, on their way to an exercise in the Gulf).

    The best journalists had a picture of the frigates docked in Gib, and a story to match.

    Lower quality journalists had a picture of a type-23 or an Invincible-class, with any manner of random BS for a story.

    The lowest quality journalists managed to have a picture of a type-42 despite their notable absence from the fleet, and stories that implied that Lusty was going to be spending a lot of time in Gibraltar (despite the fact she docked for three days at Roja, as planned).

    In this quality example, we have a story about how Mounts Bay is going to invade Venezuela, accompanied by a very nice picture of RFA Wave Knight (you can even read the pennant number).
    What this says about the quality of their journalism I’ll leave for you to conclude.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here