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Power and fresh water is now flowing to hundreds of British Virgin islanders thanks to the ‘herculean’ efforts of RFA Mounts Bay.

Continuing her support for the region, which began last Thursday, yesterday personnel from the ship helped people on four different islands – Jost van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Anegada.

On Virgin Gorda, the third largest island in the chain and home to 4,000 people, RFA engineers worked for four hours in stifling heat to get a power station running again.

It was key not only to providing electricity to homes in the Tetor Bay district of the island, but also to the desalination plant – which turns sea water into fresh water for locals.

In Road Town, Mounts Bay’s Mexeflote powered raft delivered masses of DIY stores – 75 sheets of plywood, 75 sheet of corrugated iron, 100 planks of timber, a couple of wheelbarrows and an assortment of hand tools.

The ship’s Wildcat helicopter spent ten hours in Caribbean skies either delivering supplies – fresh water especially – or transporting personnel ashore.

This including flying in emergency supplies, including three tonnes of bottled water and a half a tonne of food, to the residents Jost van Dyke, an island with a population of 300. The supplies will aid inhabitants as they begin to restore essential supplies.

The helicopter also flew Governor Augustus Jaspert and his staff to Anegada, the most northerly, second largest, but sparsely populated island in the overseas territory.

His visit to meet some of the 285 islanders resulted in an urgent delivery of half a tonne of water by the Wildcat.

Mounts Bay, located in waters just off Road Town, also acted as a floating petrol station, filling up Virgin Islands police boats.

After five continuous days of support, Capt Stephen Norris, Mounts Bay’s Commanding Officer, said his team – sailors, soldiers, Royal Marines, Fleet Air Arm, medics, engineers – had made another “significant contribution” to restoring services across the British Virgin Islands.

“It’s been another highly-successful day delivering life support to island communities: more food, water and building supplies delivered.

I am particularly proud of the RFA engineers who worked on a high-voltage power plant without any technical drawings in order to restore power to a significant number of people.”

Capt Norris continued:

“To witness the level of destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma is truly shocking and humbling and the thoughts of all on RFA Mounts Bay go out to those in the Overseas Territories that have been affected by this tragedy.

Faced with the herculean task of attending several devastated islands has been immense and I can only praise the professionalism and tireless dedication of everyone onboard. We will continue with this task for as long as it takes.”

19 COMMENTS

    • Never going to happen. Will be harder to cut things if part of the RN. Now, they can slash the RFA and still say “we’re protecting the RN!” or that old one “the RN is growing!”.

  1. If we have to spend vast sums on overseas aid then a billion or 2 should be allocated for rfa ships and enhancing the royal engineers – make it more like the US equivalent- almost commercial organisation so overseas aid budget pays them to build homes etc in situations like this or in countries we are spending aid in

    • I wrote to minister concerned with just this idea. Was not considered because can’t think in a strategic way. Every individual project has to be seen as best value to tax payer for that project and OECD Aid rules are very strict about what can be called ‘aid’ and not – reference hurricane relief bs.

      We should withdraw totally from OECD rankings and oversight to do totally our own thing, including your idea.

      • Ian I made this exact point on another Thread on here. We have a bunch of foreigners (OECD) dictating how our ‘Aid’ money (raised from taxation) MUST be spent.

        What must also be stopped is our contributing to the EU ‘Foreign Aid’ budget as well. More UK taxpayer’s money being quietly salted away to be spent by a foreign power.

        We should just relabel it all as ‘UK Aid’ (as the labels say on the pallets) and WE decide how WE spend OUR money …

        Rant over. I need a brew …

    • Steve:
      The Navy originally bought 4 Bay class ships, The Tories sold off the RFA Largs Bay after 5 years service to the Aussies. leaving us with three.
      RFA Mounts Bay we know
      RFA Lyme Bay is docked in Falmouth
      RFA Cardigan Bay is in Bahrain.

      • farouk – You make it a political comment without adding the political context. SDSR2010 had to make some very difficult calls and its prime objective was to sustain National Security at the lowest cost because of the parlous state of the UK economy and especially the UK Defence Budget inherited by the new Government in 2010. Some major projects were cancelled while others were preserved (like our two new carriers and Tornado).

        I won’t get into WHO created the mess they inherited but you could, for example, have mentioned it wasn’t the Tories who decommissioned 33% of our carrier force before we ever got to 2010.

        • Chris let’s not get into politics on a Sunday afternoon, what he said was factually correct and they were talking about the Bay class, nothing else.

          I’m not sure he wanted to get into WHO caused it, which would of been the American mortgage crisis.

          • Kieren – Sorry Old Son when someone attributes blame to one political party (by naming them) without the context in which a decision was made that is in itself blatantly political. He could have just said ‘Largs Bay was sold to the Aussies in 2010’ could he not?

            I added no further political comment at all. You just added that! I just added context. Did I name anyone? No. And what a hypocrite! You say “let’s not get into politics on a Sunday afternoon” and promptly get political by diverting blame to some American mortgages. Not sure it was any Americans in power between 1997 and 2010 in the UK or that they had any part of SDSR2010.

            No names were mentioned in the making of this post…..

  2. Regarding the good comments on this website ,we need a bigger RFA fleet carry more helicopter’s on them as many years ago the RFA fleet carried multiple helicopters on them for various mission scenarios and especially humanitarian aid which is of vital importance ,the suggestion I have is open up the Bermuda navy base again spend the money to make it a port facility for the navy but also a hub for humanitarian aid for the Caribbean and beyond and for our allies to stop over for fuel and supplies and also a financial aspect for doing it and it would pay for its self in a matter of years but the fact of a greater presence in the Caribbean more ships eg new opv fleet that could operate out of the base for above mentioned and drug patrols.

  3. Why not consider maritime propositioning ships? The US has forty-nine forward deployed supply ships which are freighters loaded with military equipment. We could load up a freighter with plywood, water, generators, canned food, etc. and keep it permanently moored in the area. Disaster relief will certainly be required in the future…

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