Hurricane Duty calls Royal Navy away from Trinidad
Royal Navy warship, HMS Iron Duke has been forced to cancel her planned visit to Port of Spain at Trinidad this weekend due to the ongoing activity of Hurricane Gustav.
Gustav which has recently caused damage and loss of life on the island Of Haiti is now south of Jamaica and threatening a number of Caribbean nations. While disappointed at not being able to visit Trinidad and Tobago, the crew of HMS IRON DUKE recognise that their primary duty since deployed to the Caribbean is to provide re-assurance to the UK Overseas Territories in the region.
This re-assurance includes being ready to provide humanitarian assistance in the event of a Hurricane causing damage ashore. HMS Iron Duke is now operating in company with Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Ship Wave Ruler. Between them, they are able to deploy numerous First Aid teams ashore, provide water and food, alongside engineering support if required by the Overseas Territories. The key aspect is that Royal Navy and RFA personnel are available for that initial period after the hurricane has hit to provide initial relief and assistance to get local infrastructure and services back up and running.
HMS Iron Duke?s Captain, Command Mark Newland said ?At the moment we are tracking Gustav closely and sat 24 hours behind the storm itself. Both my own and Wave Rulers Ship?s Company?s are ready to provide assistance ashore if we are required by the Overseas Territories.?
He went on to explain how things would work on the ground. ?The key issue is that Royal Navy personnel must work in support of the local efforts on the ground. The true expertise for dealing with these events lies in the Overseas Territories themselves. What we bring is a range of skills coupled with professional and motivated sailors, who if faced with difficult circumstances are able to assist.?
HMS Iron Duke has been deployed to the Caribbean region since late June and has been involved in Counter Drugs work with the US Coastguard alongside providing re-assurance to the UK Overseas Territories.During her recent patrols, Iron Duke has tested these skills, participating in a Disaster Relief exercise on the island of Montserrat. First Aid Teams including the Ship?s doctor and engineering support were all sent ashore to assist the Islanders. The Ship?s Lynx Mk 3 helicopter and Command Team were also extensively involved In the exercise. With an extensive comunications suite herself, the ship is also a valuable asset if facilities ashore are damaged.