As the Eastern Caribbean braced for the arrival of Hurricane Isaac, a UK military ship arrived in Barbados on Tuesday for a brief one-day refuelling visit, before performing surveillance within the region to assist in the event of disaster.
“We have come to Barbados to refuel and top up our stores, before we position ourselves to render assistance wherever it might be needed,” Commanding Officer of the RFA Mounts Bay, Captain Peter Selby announced in a press release from the Barbados based British High Commission to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
According to the release, RFA Mounts Bay’s primary task is to provide enhanced security and support to the UK Overseas Territories and citizens through disaster relief, working with regional partners to intercept narcotic operations, providing humanitarian assistance and other peacetime operations.
However, during the Atlantic Hurricane season, the ship and crew take on an enhanced role remaining on standby to react to emerging crises around the Caribbean.
“The massive Bay class ship has a load displacement of 16,160 tonnes and is fully equipped with tractors, diggers, trucks, quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles, critical to facilitating a rapid response when disasters occur,” the release states.
British High Commissioner Janet Douglas said, “Following last year’s disastrous hurricane season, to have Mounts Bay on standby is hugely reassuring. Her presence confirms the UK’s ongoing commitment to the region.”
The Department for International Development (DFID) in the Caribbean has also pre-positioned additional humanitarian relief supplies in the region on RFA Mounts Bay, doubling the amount of this year’s stores to 1,048 collapsible jerry cans, 999 hygiene kits, 976 shelter kits, as well as the sub-regional hub in Antigua housing 800 shelter kits and 1,620 buckets to provide life-saving emergency assistance as required.