Hms Ocean Arrives in Caribbean to Boost Uk Disaster Relief Effort
Pictured is a Wildcat from the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) 847 Naval Air Squadron conducting Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) training on HMS Ocean, in preparation for arrival in the Caribbean during the UK Military operation (Op Ruman) in support of those effected by Hurricane IRMA.
HMS OCEAN was tasked to support the government's Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR), providing assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane IRMA.
In early September 2017 Hurricane Irma moved through the Caribbean region, causing absolute devastation wherever it landed. The British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands suffered lasting damage.
All three services and other government departments along with hundreds of troops were involved in the huge humanitarian effort.
Ships, planes and helicopters delivered tonnes of supplies to the UK nationals and locals caught up in the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
RFA Mounts Bay had already been deployed to the area for Hurricane season and was able to offer almost immediate assistance. Her Wildcat helicopter and Mexefloat landed over 6 tons of supplies and personnel to offer both engineering and medical support to Anguilla, then the British Virgin Islands.
Soon after, the Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean was diverted from a NATO deployment in the Med to offer further assistance to the region. She sailed to Gibraltar to embark supplies, vehicles and building materials (mostly donated by the Government of Gibraltar). Four Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinook helicopters carrying aid for embarkation in Gibraltar flew from RAF Benson via fuelling stops in Spain.
RAF C17, VOYAGER and ATLAS aircraft deployed to the region carrying medical supplies rations, clean water and shelters along with specialist personnel from all three services. The aircraft landed first in Barbados which was used as a hub to distribute all aid. Further C17s carrying Puma helicopters then landed on the
Pictured is HMS Lancaster sailing towards the camera, at sea
Pictured is HMS Lancaster sailing towards the camera, at sea.
HMS Lancaster was built on the Clyde as the fourth of the Type 23 frigates joining the Fleet in 1992. This versatile multi-role ship can typically be deployed drug-busting in the Caribbean or East of Suez on maritime security patrols.
All the ships in the Type 23 class are named after Dukes, in this case, the Duke of Lancaster - who is also better known as Her Majesty the Queen. The British Monarch is the ship's very special sponsor and Her Majesty takes a keen interest in Lancaster's activities around the globe.
In 2013, HMS Lancaster spent seven months in the North Atlantic and Caribbean, successfully seizing drugs worth a total street value of £160m. During six raids, the ship intercepted 1.2 tonnes of cocaine and almost 1.5 tonnes of cannabis. 23 drug runners were detained, effectively disrupting the distribution of drugs throughout the region.
Lancaster visited all six of the British Overseas Territories in the region and the Commonwealth states of Jamaica, Belize and Barbados while also making calls into the islands of Curacao, Martinique and visiting Columbia in South America. The ship also took part in Exercise Unitas a multi-national exercise involving 16 warships and submarines from nine nations ranging from Canada to Chile.
On returning from her deployments HMS Lancaster is often greeted, wherever possible, by a Lancaster bomber of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which provides a fly past over Portsmouth harbour. *** Local Caption *** Pictured is HMS Lancaster afer her last Replenishment at sea (RAS) with RFA Gold Rover
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