The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship ‘RFA MOUNTS BAY’ will be paying a welcome visit to Trinidad next week.
MOUNTS BAY, arrived from the UK in July and is 3 months into a 3-year Caribbean deployment.
The UK maintains a year-round naval presence in the Caribbean to provide a rapid response to any emergency in the British Overseas Territories.
The early part of MOUNTS BAY’s deployment has been to provide humanitarian relief in response to Hurricanes IRMA and MARIA.
MOUNTS BAY offers a wide range of capabilities including the new Wildcat helicopter from 815 Sqn commanded by Lt Amy Gilmore and an Army detachment from the Royal Logistics Corp Port and Maritime Regiment commanded by Lt Louise Tester RLC. Additionally MOUNTS BAY carries a detachment of Engineers from 24 Commando Engineer Regiment Royal Engineers; this on top of the ship’s company crewed by the civilian-manned RFA.
The Commanding Officer Captain Stephen Norris RFA said: ‘… It is a privilege to Command such a versatile unit with such an amazing and helpful range of military personnel, equipment and capability. In many respects what MOUNTS BAY brings to the UK’s Overseas Territories is transformational in capability; we are able to provide a new enhanced range of options to any Government decision-making body when responding to a new rapid onset crises …’
Whilst MOUNTS BAY’s primary task is to provide enhanced security and reassurance to the UKOTs, including disaster relief when called upon, she will also be involved in work with regional partners on security issues in the area while being on very short notice to react to any emerging crises around the world.
MOUNTS BAY has spent the last month engaged in supporting the people of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands and Dominica delivering aid to isolated communities and repairing critical infrastructure.
To support work ashore MOUNTS BAY carries an impressive array of vehicles including diggers, trucks, quad bikes, command and all-terrain vehicles. And if no alongside berth is available she can dock down and operate a specialised raft to bring the vehicles up to and across a beach just where they are needed.
Her WILDCAT helicopter can be used to assess damage after a hurricane and has been invaluable in delivering fresh water, shelter and aid to isolated communities in their moment of need. Officer Commanding the Commando Engineer Regiment, Lt Oli Fletcher RE said:
‘… My small detachment of 19 people is full of useful skill-sets in times of need. Plumbers, fitters, joiners, mechanics and plant operators provide a wide range of potential options to the Disaster Management team in that first 24 – 48 hours following a disaster. And with the Army’s, Royal Navy’s and Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s assistance we can deploy rapidly and get to work where we are best needed…’
RFA MOUNTS BAY will depart next week Friday for further operations with regional partners.