Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Lyme Bay has been tasked to assist humanitarian relief efforts in Dominica following devastation caused by Tropical Storm Erika. The vessel is carrying a range of disaster relief stores including bedding, shelter, torches and stretchers, as well as a Lynx Mk 8 helicopter and considerable supplies of fresh water.

The Bay Class displace 16,100 tonnes and compared to their predecessors they carry more than twice as many vehicles and embarked troops. Using their stern dock for landing craft and flight deck for helicopters, they are able to offload in rougher weather twice as quickly. The flight deck can accommodate two Merlin or Chinook helicopters. The Bay Class are designed to operate over the horizon using helicopters and landing craft through a floodable stern dock to get men and equipment ashore.

Tropical Storm Erika hit Dominica at the end of August 2015 causing severe flooding and wide spread infrastructure damage across the island.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

“It is clear that Dominica has borne the brunt of this storm, with a number of deaths already confirmed and hundreds of people made homeless. Roads, bridges and health clinics have been affected and large parts of the island are without water and electricity.

Part of RFA Lyme Bay’s tasking is to respond to just this sort of emergency and the ship is already en route to assist with relief efforts. As well as essential supplies and helicopter support, the ship can also provide vital expertise to help clean-up operations and recovery efforts.”

Last month RFA Lyme Bay helped rescue a fisherman who was drifting out to sea. During a visit to the Turks and Caicos Islands, the ‘Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief’ team of RFA Lyme Bay went ashore to demonstrate the capability of the Combat Support Boat when they spotted the fisherman, who was unable to start his engine. The small vessel was then towed to shore.

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