RFA Mounts Bay has returned to the British Virgin Islands and has docked off the coast of Tortola after assisting Dominica in the relief operations that followed hurricane Maria.

Utilizing a Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter to move engineering teams ashore and her organic Mexeflote to transport equipment, it is clear the UK is still supporting the recovery effort across the territory despite the transitioning to civilian led recovery.

The Mexeflote, crewed by troops from 17 Port and Maritime Regiment Royal Logistics Corps was bringing fire fighting equipment ashore. This will allow the local fire service to continue working across the islands despite damage to their own equipment.

RFA Mounts Bay will remain in the region until the end of the hurricane season with a bolstered humanitarian and disaster relief team on board. On land support will continue in the form of a residual team of engineering specialists able to provide expertise in project management and engineering advice, supporting the local governments in recovery and reconstruction.

Picture shows fire fighting equipment from RFA Mount Bay being delivered to Port Purcell, Road Town.

Mounts Bay is capable of carrying up to 24 Challenger 2 tanks or 150 light trucks in 1,150 linear metres of space.

The cargo capacity is equivalent of 200 tons of ammunition, or 24 Twenty-foot equivalent unit containers. During normal conditions, a Bay-class ship can carry 356 soldiers, but this can be almost doubled to 700 in overload conditions.

The well deck can carry one LCU Mark 10 or two LCVPs, and two Mexeflotes can be suspended from the ship’s flanks.

Two 30-ton cranes are fitted between the superstructure and the flight deck.

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Great work by all involved – but if ever there was a demonstration on why the Karel Doorman class are what the UK need it is this effort. Karel Doorman just has more capability and flexibility than the bays and actually refuelled and replenished Mounts Bay yesterday. Everything is a compromise these days – but for me the KD class will add capability at a great price point. All RFA vessels should be based upon the Tide class hull going forward and for me we should have 4 Tide class and 12 KD “style” JLSS platforms that can meet the… Read more »


Karen Doorman class is a 2000 tonne corvette a piece of crap and is no way more capable than the 17,000 tone Bays.

James Harrington

What an impressive job this ship and her crew have done, so versatile and irreplaceable.


Talking of being irreplaceable I see the FSL is proposing to reduce the RMs by 1,000, decommission Albion and Bulwark (as well as selling Ocean) and the early retirement of two mine-hunting vessels and one survey vessel. Oh and the RAF are slowing down F-35 purchases …


Just when I was believing we were increasing our military spend and therefore capabilities the age old hatchet schemes appear yet again. Same shit different day.

Still it will make our Tax Alliance friend very happy ….


My god, makes a mockery of the MoD, Fallon’s “year of the Royal Navy”, and claims of a £178bn plan.

If we really do end up with no landing ships or LPH then I have to say we might have been better without the carriers. What a joke.


I agree that it’s bad. I assume that one big issue they are grappling with is that however many pounds of this claimed £178bn that is being spent on US and other non-UK equipment are getting far less in Dollar/Euro/whatever terms. I wonder how big a hole that has blown in the budget.


No landing ships, no LPH the RM role is finally redundant. The FSL is an absolute disgrace to the RN, to those who serve today and those that did before him. Fallon is just another in the line of chinless wonders we have had to endure these past years.


Not replacing Ocean will be a huge mistake. She should be replaced with at least 3 LHD/LPH. Now is the time to increase the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy. This type of peace time relief work is tailor made for them. It is a shame that the politicians can’t see this.


Lets wait and see chaps. I think this FSL is better than some of his predecessors and is trying to sort things out.

I think we need to understand the pressures he is facing and perhaps he is looking at a strategic shift to a more escort centric navy at the cost of amphibious assets in the short term.

I don’t know and am speculating, but it seems to me that he has his head screwed on.


Yes, I wonder if he is playing a long game. Are we looking at another capability gap (amphibious landing) that at some point the RN is planning to re-construct? If this happens then it only leaves 3 well docks in the entire fleet doesn’t it (the three Bays)? If the rumours are true then Albion and Bulwark are surely too good and modern to be sold for scrap. I wonder who we would sell them on to or would we mothball both so that no crew at all are required? If we mothballed them then ever getting them active again… Read more »


Apologies Julian, ought to have read your post before posting mine.


The BBC is reporting that Albion and Bulwark might go in the next round of defence cuts. Is this a good time to ask what can they do that a Bay class can’t?


The main reason for the short fall in cash at the MOD is due to how Osborne in 2010 changed the funding for our Nuclear deterrent from the Government to the MOD.


From the BBC in 2010:

Trident costs must come from MoD budget, Osborne says

The full £20bn cost of renewing the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent must be paid for by the Ministry of Defence, George Osborne has said. Traditionally, the Treasury has always found the money for the submarines. The chancellor’s comments come as Defence Secretary Liam Fox warned it would be “very difficult” to maintain other MoD projects if more than half its budget went on funding Trident.