Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay arrived in Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) waters on March 19 to help the the British overseas territory with a recent increase in the number of migrant arrivals from Haiti.
TCI police and border control officials observed a surge in the number of illegal sloops from Haiti recently which prompted TCI to seek help from the UK government.
RFA Mounts Bay has been redeployed from her regular tasking and will now work alongside the TCI enforcement authorities and regional partners to boost the maritime and aerial surveillance and interdiction capability of the TCI authorities.
The UK government is also in discussion with regional partners about possible assistance that can be deployed quickly to address the situation, a Turks and Caicos Islands official statement read.
Commenting on the arrival of RFA Mounts Bay in TCI, acting governor Anya Williams said: “I am grateful that the UK government swiftly responded to our request to deploy RFA Mounts Bay to the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Royal Navy ship will provide invaluable support to the RTCIPF to help detect and interdict the illegal sloops heading to TCI while we focus on our internal operations. I have been in contact with the Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay, Captain David Buck, to welcome him and his crew to the Turks and Caicos Islands and to thank them for swiftly deploying to TCI. I, along with Commissioner of Police, will be meeting Captain Buck tomorrow to further discuss the ship’s operations here.”
RFA Mounts Bay is currently on a deployment to North Atlantic, performing patrol duties after taking over from RFA Wave Knight in July 2017. Mounts Bay (L3008) is one of three landing ship docks (Auxiliary) built by BAE Systems for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service. She was launched in April 2004 and accepted into service in July 2006.