RFA Mounts Bay ready to support British overseas islands ahead of Storm Isaac

Photo: UK Ministry of Defense

The UK’s military and the auxiliary landing ship dock RFA Mounts Bay are on standby in the Caribbean and fully prepared to assist British Overseas Territories in the path of Storm Isaac.

As the storm makes its way towards the Caribbean Windward islands, an Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team has been deployed to work with the Governors and supporting agencies on the islands.

A further 87 engineers, medics, maritime experts and other specialists have joined the regular crew of the RFA Mounts Bay, which is the mobile hub of the British relief effort. Approximately 1,000 personnel are deployed or being held at high-readiness for if further storms head towards the region, according to the UK defense ministry.

Homes were destroyed and infrastructure was decimated when Hurricane Irma and Maria, two of the most powerful hurricanes for decades, hit the region back-to-back in September 2017.

“I want to assure everyone in our Overseas Territories that our Armed Forces have been pre-positioned in the region and are absolutely prepared to help. We will be there to support during this hurricane season while still helping those whose lives were devastated by Irma and Maria to rebuild their lives and homes,” Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said.

As well as being able to carry vital aid and equipment, RFA Mounts Bay will use the Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on board to provide aerial support. There is also a medical facility on board.

The Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) troop, consisting of Royal Engineers from the British Army and Royal Marines, have been training with their French counterparts in Martinique to ensure they are fully prepared. This training is part of a six-month deployment to the region for hurricane season, while RFA Mounts Bay also carried out a significant HADR exercise in July.

As well as preparing for this year, RFA Mounts Bay was in the region when Irma struck last year and will remain there until 2020 to provide support to the islands.

Mounts Bay is one of three auxiliary landing ship docks and was built by BAE (Naval Ships) at Govan on the River Clyde.

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