Captain ‘fiercely proud’ of sailors as HMS Daring arrives off the Philippines

HMS Daring's Ship's Company were briefed on preparations for the disaster relief operation in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan
HMS Daring's Ship's Company were briefed on preparations for the disaster relief operation in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan

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Sailors on board HMS Daring are preparing to fly their helicopter over remote islands of the Philippines to assess the devastation since Typhoon Haiyan struck.

The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer has arrived in the Sulu Sea, a body of water in the southwestern area of the Philippines.

As the destroyer comes closer to the north west of the Philippines, the on board Lynx Mark 8 helicopter will fly out to explore the more remote islands that have had no outside contact since the typhoon struck.

The ship continues to speed towards the areas of devastation.

Her final destination is not yet clear, but the helicopter scouting mission will determine if the outlaying islands have been affected and what help they may require.

The ship’s company has been briefed on preparations and what they may expect on their arrival to the humanitarian aid effort.

They gathered in the ship’s hangar to watch media reports and distressing imagery to prepare them for what they may encounter when ashore.

Commander Angus Essenhigh, the commanding officer of HMS Daring, told the ship’s company: ‘I wanted to take this opportunity to say how fiercely proud I am of all of you.

‘We are going into something that is an unknown quantity and I am fully aware that all we can do is our very best and I know you will support me in that.

‘I do ask you to look after one another and pace yourselves.

‘You know each other well.

‘If someone is not acting in character and there is something on the fatigue or psychological trauma side that needs addressing, then notify the appropriate person.’

The sailors heard a meteorological report that explained the weather systems and forecast for the next few days.

There was also a medical brief on diseases that may be present and how to prevent them.

Captain Charles Spencer, of 45 Commando Royal Marines, gave a more tactical brief on kit and operating ashore.

The destroyer is carrying more than 200 personnel who are highly trained in humanitarian disasters with a host of specialisations and expertise that can be deployed on the ground to help.

These include medical teams, heavy lifting and damage control experts, a helicopter and boats crews, a variety of engineers and a priest.

HMS Daring is on a nine-month deployment around the world and had just begun a multi-national exercise called Bersama Lima off the coast of Singapore when she was diverted to the Philippines by the UK government.

· AGENDA: As two Portsmouth ships speed towards the typhoon-torn Philippines, The News went on board HMS Defender to find out how the Royal Navy prepares for disaster relief operations.