RFA Mounts Bay has delivered six tonnes of emergency aid to Anguilla and will shortly arrive in the British Virgin Islands.

According to the MoD, the ship has been deployed in the Caribbean since July in preparation for the hurricane season, ready to provide support at a moment’s notice. Tasked by the Royal Navy, she was the UK’s first military response to the Caribbean.

“The ship carries a specialist disaster relief team – drawn from the Royal Engineers and Royal Logistics Corps – as well as heavy plant for lifting and shifting and emergency kit and shelters provided by the Department for International Development. Also on board are the Royal Navy’s Mobile Aviation Support Force – aviation specialists, meteorological advisors and flight deck crews.

Engineers were on hand to stop a potentially-dangerous fuel leak at Anguilla’s main petrol dump, restore power to the island’s sole hospital and hand out shelters providing temporary homes for people left homeless by the storm. They also cleared the runway which was declared safe for relief flights.”

RFA Mounts Bay’s Wildcat helicopter – from 815 Naval Air Squadron based at Yeovilton – also flew Governor Tim Foy on a flight over the island – which is about the size of Plymouth – to survey the damage from the air during seven hours of continuous flying. The reconnaissance flight found widespread damage to infrastructure, schools, government buildings and power supplies.

As a result of the sortie, the island’s leaders and ship’s team decided to focus efforts on supporting the police headquarters as the hub of the relief effort, get the hospital on its feet again, and reinforce two shelter stations – particularly important with Hurricane José now barrelling towards the region.

Mounts Bay’s Commanding Officer Capt Stephen Norris RFA said:

“My people worked tirelessly throughout the day with determination and flexibility to support the Governor and the people of Anguilla.

Although Anguilla suffered extensive damage, normal signs of life were returning – some roads open and the local population beginning a recovery and clear-up operation.”

RFA Mounts Bay is now making for the British Virgin Islands – 90 miles to the west – to concentrate today’s disaster relief efforts.

21
Leave a Reply

avatar
8 Comment threads
13 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
Ben PchrisSteveKieranCLewis Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
KieranC
Guest
KieranC

Well done, our service personnel are doing an amazing job and cannot do anymore. But let’s be clear the response to the biggest hurricane to hit a British territory since 1920 has been nothing short of a disgrace, one ship with no heavy lifting equipment to move trees etc. Where is the ship from Atlantic patrol tasking south? we are supposed to have a permanent presence in the South Atlantic. The French and Dutch had a comparable task force to HMS Ocean on it’s way a day earlier than us. “in Saint Martin, the French made sure that they had… Read more »

chris
Guest
chris

KieranC – Once again you are not reading an article and jumping to score political points. Neither of which is helpful or appropriate. No heavy lifting apparently? You then quote: ““in Saint Martin, the French made sure that they had military on the ground, so that the response given is timely, effective and helpful. That was sorely lacking in our [Britain’s] case.” Well just 3 paragraphs in it says: “The ship carries a specialist disaster relief team – drawn from the Royal Engineers and Royal Logistics Corps – as well as heavy plant for lifting and shifting and emergency kit… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

“Given that hurricanes are not new in the Caribbean and always happen at this time of the year, why is it there was no standby facility to deal with this sort of emergency given that we see that France and Holland had prepared and as a result were able to react much more speedily than we were able to do? “Why was it given that last weekend when it was quite clear this was potentially the worst hurricane ever to hit the Caribbean, there was no voice, no questioning, no statement from Dfid [the Department for International Development] and it… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

And you keep saying PRIVATE in capital letters like that was the right thing to do ? She is the Prime minister for crying out loud, what leader of a country do you know that does that, the only reason she met people in private is because she is an out and out s***house. I’ll tell you something else as well, David Cameron would of been on the ground, at least he had some backbone to do tv debates and meet real people, he would of the took the flack. Tory MPs went in and took the flack, MP’s of… Read more »

chris
Guest
chris

Kieren – If there were no heavy lifting equipment on board what is all that on the Mexflote being exercised back in July to train for a hurricane event? https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2017/july/14/170714-rfa-mounts-bay-displays-capability-during-visit-to-grand-cayman GRENFELL If you are at Grenfell to deal with the issues and problems and support crews and survivors you do it privately. If you are there to score political points and make a name for yourself you take a media mob and organise selfies. That is the difference. Funny I never mentioned Tory or Labour once but you have to. I just think Corbyn is an utter moron and he… Read more »

Lewis
Guest
Lewis

Just ignore KeirenC Chris, the man’s got a chip on his shoulder and seems to spend every article sh**ting on the UK, like how he’s making a mountain our a molehill that theres no heavy lifting equipment, equipment that is almost certainly being brought in by plane now that the airport is back online. Our response is equal if not more than France or the Netherlands. It’s sensationlists like KeirenC that try to play it down.

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

Lewis what are you talking about, I’m always balanced with my opinions and I praise the government when it warrants it. Like under the NSS strategy I could not of praised it highly enough. “Every article s*****g on the UK” ?? What articles are these then? The lifting gear was probably the least important of the issues, the main one for me is the lack of a APTS ship that could of been there to assist, then why we can’t have a proper facility with troops on the islands like the French and Dutch, and then the late response from… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

It kinda calls into question why we do not have more hospital ships. The bay’s are great for this type of situation, but i suspect backing them up with a hospital ship would be much appropriated. Its sad to say but disaster relief is becoming progressively more needed in recent years and so maybe its time to invest in vessels that are more suited for the role, with an option amb usage should a war hit. A cross between the bay class (supply transport) and ocean (helicopter platform) with a hospital option would seem perfect. Should it be needed in… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Proper ( as in unarmed) hospital ships would be a great way to spend the aid budget, give the hangers, flat decks, loads of space for containers, even a well deck, build them in our ship yards. Man them from a mix of RN/RFA, staff and training costs from the aid budget ,squadron of helicopters could be merlins SAR build ordered from Westlands painted yellow. Our 12 billion a year could give use an unparalleled ability to react to disasters around the world, support our industries, employ more RN and RFA and actually save lives and get influence. America can… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

p.s. very proud our service men are heading out to help countries that rely on us, just a shame it took negative media stories to get the politicians to authorise it, but I guess that is the power of the media, it’s there when needed even if 99% of the time it’s reporting on stories that are not in the public interest and only there to sell papers.

chris
Guest
chris

Steve in fairness as the article says the UK Government pre-positioned Mounts Bay precisely for the hurricane season and was able to be right in there as soon as the winds died down. Experts assessors have now decided what is needed and that was flown out very quickly. Better a slight delay and get it right than send ships with all the wrong kit surely?

Not sure what the media beef was all about other than as you say to create a non-story to sell papers.

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

The news did very little. The personnel started flying out there once the airfield had been fixed by RFA Mounts Bay. They cant land planes a transport plane on the water you know.

geoff
Guest
geoff

I think the Press and some of the local politicians in Anguilla have unduly harsh in their criticism. The facts are that the RFA were on scene and reacting within approximately the same time frame as the Dutch and French. The RAF were there shortly thereafter and are flying supplies and manpower as we speak. Also the comments about HMS Ocean needing 10 days to reach the area ignore the fact that the deployment of the Ocean is NOT part of the primary response. It will be there to provide more of the considerable assistance that will be needed in… Read more »

KieranC
Guest
KieranC

To be fair to them though Geoff, even if our response was quicker and we had two ships there, the people have just lost everything, their lives turned upside down, they are hardy going to be in a gracious mood are they. I think the main gripe was it took nearly a whole day for a comment from our government, while the French and Dutch had already released statements and got in touch with the islands governors and told them help was on its way. Yet once again our people had to wait for an official comment or promise of… Read more »

geoff
Guest
geoff

Also that woman who so ungraciously and ungratefully condemned the UK’s response should perhaps thank God that they are a British Overseas territory and not a Haitian or Cuban Dependency…

chris
Guest
chris

And of course our Government was never talking to the Governors and other Senior staff actually on the islands before the hurricanes hit? Mounts Bay ‘just happened to be there’? A pure coincidence? No. We were ahead of events What we are seeing is the usual tripe prevalent in modern day media led by the screechings of ‘Social Media’. “Its the Government’s fault!!!” Especially if you are an Opposition Leader scoring cheap points. What ‘comments’ were missing precisely? The Prime Minister in tears laying a bunch of flowers amongst cheap candles at a two bit ‘memorial’? The Government made many… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

As much as i would like to believe the above, we all know how politicians work. If the ship was already immediately being prepared to be on its way as soon as the hurricans hit, we would have an immediate news story along the lines of “thanks to our raising defense budget and the 178b in equipment, our royal navy are ready to react immediately to these events” Instead we got radio silence for a fair while from government and then a panicked response once they started receiving slack from the media. Its great that we had a ship in… Read more »

chris
Guest
chris

Steve – Mounts Bay is an MoD owned ship. It is controlled directly by the Government. From which I would assume it was Government action pre-empting the hurricanes to have immediate help and equipment available with skilled assessors then able to tell the UK Government what is actually needed.
I am really not sure why the politics around this from certain media and other quarters.

Steve
Guest
Steve

From my perspective the MOD is not the government, it is a branch of the civil service, since they can’t make these decisions independently, they need governmental (PM) sign off. Forget the bay for a second and instead look at the c17. They took a long time before it was in the air, and the reason stated was because they were assessing what was needed on the ground. Seriously! Let’s play armature disaster relief first responders. A hurricane has hit a populated area. What is the first thing they are going to need every time, food and accommodation and some… Read more »

Ben P
Guest
Ben P

Access the damage to the islands facilities like the naval port and airport first. What good is sending a C17 if it cannot land on the island. Will it hover around with unlimited fuel until the airfield is cleared?

chris
Guest
chris

Apparently the French response was so superb and are moving so quickly they had to put in a request to the UK to help them get relief supplies out to the Caribbean ….. Step up RAF the same RAF C-17s that carried French equipment to Africa …