RFA Argus has sailed for the Caribbean in preparation to support British Overseas Territories with the response to the Covid-19 pandemic if required, say the Royal Navy.

According to a news release, RFA Argus’ deployment to the Caribbean had been scheduled for the hurricane season, but she will now be able to play a part in ensuring the UK Government is ready to support the Overseas Territories during the pandemic.

RFA Argus Dispatched to Support Caribbean Region - DefPost

“As Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines continue to stand ready to assist the United Kingdom in its efforts to defeat the pandemic at home, the support ship left Devonport today to cross the Atlantic and head south for the Caribbean.”

Captain Terence Barke said:

“RFA Argus’ ship’s company, consisting of both Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Navy personnel, will rise to this challenge. We understand that there are people in need in the UK Overseas Territories who require our support.”

Minister of State for Defence Jeremy Quinn, responsible for the Overseas Territories, said:

“The Armed Forces are taking decisive and coordinated action both at home and overseas to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. The Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have worked hard to ensure that RFA Argus is ready for the hurricane season in the Caribbean and now also able to support the UK’s Overseas Territories during the pandemic. The deployment of this ship is just one way the UK Government is supporting communities at home and overseas as together we face the biggest public health emergency in a generation.”

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Daniele Mandelli

And when she is cut what will you deploy in future HMG?

A Bay? A Wave, if they still exist?

We should be expanding the assets of the RFA, which can be used in a range of roles from war to humanitarian, not reducing them.

Levi Goldsteinberg

If there was any chance of having a replacement for her made more likely, this is it. A golden chance at the eleventh hour to demonstrate her vital importance to the fleet

Daniele Mandelli

Exactly my thoughts Levi.

Hopefully the supposedly joined up SDSR also involving the F&CO and DFID shows the obvious need for flexible vessels such as this.

I admit I’m biased for expansion of the RFA, as I see it as a vital pillar of the UK’s naval capabilities that supports two of the other pillars – Carriers / and Amphibious capability.

Without the RFA, the rest fails.

Cam

I love the RFA they do a vital job, and the 4 new tides helped allot, let’s hope we get 3 solid support multi role ships to replace the waves and Argus in future and what will replace Fort Victoria?. We were meant to get double the planned New RFA ships but as per usual the numbers were cut in half… The RFA is a key part of what gives Britain the reach it has, without it we would cut our capability’s massively, we should invest more into them and maybe even train the crews to use bigger weapons systems… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Cam I agree. Just to clarify. The Future FSS ships will replace Fort Victoria, and the earlier Forts of 70s vintage Fort Austin and Fort Rosalie ( which was previously named Grange, but George and Grange sounded too similar ) They are not meant to replace the Waves. If they do that is a cut. If HMG spin it that the new Tides also replace the Waves that too is a cut, as the Tides are replacing the Rovers and Leafs. Agree, in my ideal world all would have CIWS as standard and a RN contingent. I would use… Read more »

maurice10

Some will question this deployment considering she has medical facilities onboard? Would she be better deployed at her home base, in case the local NHS needs additional beds? I personally think we should be thinking globally at this time, and can see the need for overseas deployment, but then I don’t live in her home port.

Sjb1968

She is supporting British Overseas Territories some of which have pretty poor infrastructure so it gets my vote. The RN should be playing up this deployment to get a replacement and preferably a Bay for the one that moron Cameron sold.

Cam

What about the six destroyers not built along with selling three type 23 frigates and scrapping the very capable type 22s! And we’ve lost a quarter or more of our mine hunters! Let’s not even start on our attack submarine numbers!!. We’ve lost so many ships it’s hard to keep track! And It’s hard to believe we British have a far bigger economy than Russia but they have a far bigger Navy/ Military!. We have the money in the UK we just have to spend more on defence! Say 3.5% GDP

maurice10

Your comments are bang on target Cam, however, once this virus is past the MOD will need to be heard over the shouts for increased budgets of other government departments, and I fear they will be drowned out? There are grim times ahead for our forces and some measures may be temporary, but they will hurt, and inevitably damage our capabilities.

Robert Powell

Would you be saying the same if she was sailing for Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands? The British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean deserve our assistance just as much as any other British Overseas Territory.

RFA Argus, her Wildcat HMA2 of 815 NAS and three Commando Merlin HC4 of 845 NAS will be perfectly placed to assist over the coming months. Good luck to them.

Cam

Yeah I agree, she’s going where she will be most effective, British over seas territory’s need more support, I’m gutted in the past 50 years we’ve lost most of our British Caribbean territory and global territorys! We should have kept more and supported them more.

geoff

Morning Cam. I lived through the last years of the British Empire in Africa. When we arrived in 1961 much of East and Central Africa still flew the Union Jack but by then the push to Independence was inexorable and this applied worldwide.Three particular examples of where we could/should have retained a close link were Malta,Seychelles and Guyana. Both the Maltese and Seychellois wanted to retain closer ties-Seychelles proposed even having representation in Westminster from memory. Sparsely populated British Guyana (Guyana) was another candidate-the French retained their section of Guyana as a huge asset to the wider French community. British… Read more »

maurice10

I was simply posing the question some may ask, there was no intended racist undertone here. I can understand the need to deploy our assets, but some may see this as overlooking the obvious, ‘Charity begins at home.’ In the future, there will be an urgent need for a coordinated international effort, to help Third World countries if contagion returns?

Robert Powell

I’m not implying anything to do with race more that Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands are both ‘British Overseas Territories’ but many don’t see our ‘British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean in the same way as those with permanent military protection. Their population are British Citizens therefore your charity beginning at home surely includes our own citizens even if they’re not on the United Kingdom mainland. Still unsure of how ridiculously complicated the UK is, watch this very good (and short) YouTube Video. British Overseas Territories are covered at minute 4 but the whole video is worth a watch if… Read more »

GarryGopper

those who man the onboard hosptial are in the NHS …..Where do think they are best used. Argus is deployed with a standard medical capacity and you reaaly need to read more widely before commenting

Cam

She doesn’t have the bed numbers to make a difference at home, intensive care beds are a dozen and a half. We just built a 4000 bed unit in London with great road access compared to RFA Argus, she would be far better suited to the Caribbean where there’s only small numbers of patients when hurricane season starts. And where she can be used to her most usefulness and supply much needed aid like water and food something we don’t need in the UK. I love how we now have a new OPV Hms Medway permenantly based in the caribean,… Read more »

Max Jones

At the moment replacing the major surface combatant in the Gulf with an OPV wouldn’t be a great route to take. It frees up space for the frigates but limits power there – in such a high risk zone, most of the roles conducted by a frigate require at least a frigate to perform them. Otherwise, Caribbean, Cyprus and Gibraltar would all benefit from OPVs stationed there – if not for the territories themselves then to establish a permanent presence at overseas territories so each has a bit more credibility at a time than a couple RHIBs and maybe the… Read more »

Gunbuster

She has limited capacity when compared to whats being built in the various Expo centres around the country. An ICU of 10 beds is a drop in the ocean compared to the current 500 and growing beds in London and soon to be Glasgow, Bristol etc.

HF

I’d heard she was elsewhere. Obviously not.

Andy

Whats the latest thinking about a modular design for replacing various categories of large vessel we need to replace in the next decade and more?

Something we can churn our at a regular cadence like we seem to be planning with type 31 (two covered, side-by-side production lines).

I wish we had built the Type 26 factory too. It’s not too late Boris, if you are going to invest infrastructure build that frigate factory.

Ethan

See Multi Role Support Ship.

David Barry

The wsy he was looking the other day on TV, actually, it might be too late…

Karma.

In Latvia, our first death, a 99 year old. Should we follow the curve, we are going to hammered in the forthcoming month.

I would really like to see numbers 4 hospital ships constructed using the Overseas aid budget, they won’t help the UK – USNS Mercy has just 20 patients, but they would provide multi-role platforms for the overseas territories and give a boost to British shipbuilding.