Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay unloaded military personnel, trucks and heavy equipment onto the Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, for the first stop of the dock landing ship’s deployment to the Caribbean.
Swimmers, sunbathers and holidaymakers looked on as the 16,000-ton RFA Mounts Bay moored off the beach, and military trucks rolled onto the white sands of Seven Mile Beach as both local police and Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters hovered overhead in a show of capability from the Hurricane and Disaster Response (HADR) team on board RFA Mounts Bay.
Grand Cayman was the first stop for RFA Mounts Bay during the dock landing ship’s deployment to the Caribbean.
“The crew seek to fulfil a four-tiered mission in the region. The first and foremost is security and reassurance to U.K. overseas territories and the wider region,” Commanding Officer, Captain Chris Clarke RFA said. “We’re also ready for contingent disaster relief in the case of tropical cyclones or if anything worse were to occur. We will also get involved in support of counter-narcotic operations over the year”.
The training exercise, which took place on Friday and Saturday of last week, was a simulation of how RFA Mounts Bay and her cross service team of RFA, RN, Royal Logistics Corps and Royal Engineer experts could respond after a major hurricane or disaster.
Depending on where the ship is located, it is equipped to respond to an order for assistance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office within 12 to 48 hours.
British Defence Attaché to the Caribbean, Lieutenant Colonel Anton Gash, said “The Cayman Islands is the ship’s first port of call in the region and this is a bespoke package we have put together from different elements; Royal Fleet Auxiliary with the ship and embarked Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter, the Royal Logistic Corps for the ability to come ashore on the beach and the Royal Engineers for the ability to then go inland and carry out the disaster response – the weekends exercise went like clockwork”.