Royal Navy of the Atlantic Patrol (North) Task Group stand ready to provide disaster relief in the Caribbean

August 21, 2009 (Royal Navy) - A Royal Navy Task Group consisting of warship HMS Iron Duke and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort George are on patrol in the Caribbean standing by to provide disaster relief assistance if required. CDERA officials met with the Task Group Command Team on 13 August when HMS IRON DUKE visited Bridgetown, Barbados.

Both Ships have been in the region for several weeks, building on the disaster relief training they received in the UK prior to deploying to the region. Over this period they conducted disaster relief exercises and met with local authorities to improve their knowledge of emergency arrangements in the region. The Task Group is primarily focussed on reassurance and support to the UK’s Overseas Territories, but may be available to provide support more widely.

Whilst on a similar deployment last year in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, Iron Duke and RFA Wave Ruler tracked the path of the hurricane and were able to land personnel on the Turks and Caicos Islands within 24 hours of the intial damage caused by Hurricane Ike to render assistance.

Both Iron Duke and Fort George carry a Lynx helicopter. As a versatile multi-mission helicopter it can help an Island’s authorities to establish quickly the effects of a disaster or to land teams and equipment from the Ships to where they are most needed ashore. The Ships can also provide first aid medical teams, engineering expertise, damage control, firefighting and basic rescue teams.

HMS Iron Duke’s Commanding Officer and Task Group Commander, Commander Andrew Stacey said: “Our focus is to save life and provide humaitarian asssitance if required. Our mobility allows us to arrive on scene soon after a disaster and provide initial support until other organisations arrive. We can provide medical care, communications and technical support to get key services back up and running. Our helicopters also provide an immensely useful resource to establish the extent of any damage. Both HMS Iron Duke and RFA Fort George have conducted extensive and specialist training which, combined with the ships’ modern technology and versatile equipment, ensure that if called upon we can offer significant assistance in the critical hours and days after a disaster occurs.”

HMS Iron Duke Press Officer: Lt Cdr Martin Hoather, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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