Portsmouth sailors on Royal Navy patrol ship help British Virgin Islands prepare hurricane relief plan

ROYAL Navy sailors from Portsmouth have been helping a Caribbean community to shore up its disaster-relief plans in the event of a hurricane.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 8th November 2021, 11:56 am
HMS Medway completes stop in the British Virgin Islands, with crew showing some of the islanders the kit it uses during disaster relief operations. Photo: Royal Navy
HMS Medway completes stop in the British Virgin Islands, with crew showing some of the islanders the kit it uses during disaster relief operations. Photo: Royal Navy

Personnel from HMS Medway have been working with officials from the British Virgin Islands to improve its emergency response to natural disaster

The patrol ship is permanently deployed to the Caribbean and regularly patrols the region, reassuring island communities during hurricane season.

Alongside support ship RFA Wave Knight, HMS Medway is part of a British task group ready to respond to natural disasters in the region.

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Sailors also joined those responsible for managing the Virgin Islands’ disaster-relief plans, the Department for Disaster Management, to develop their ability to react if the worst were to happen.

Together they studied communications for during and after a major hurricane and looked at the island chain’s ability to carry out initial damage assessments and restoring vital services.

A Merlin helicopter shows how it can deliver vital aid during disaster relief operations while at the British Virgin Islands

Commander Brian Trim, commander of the Royal Navy task group in the Caribbean, said: ‘The depth and breadth of experience amongst the experts at the table-top exercise was really impressive.

‘The many lessons and ideas that were shared with my team will help to improve plans for disaster relief in the Virgin Islands. I’m truly grateful to everyone for giving of their time for the exercise.’

Sailors and 3 Commando Brigade’s crisis response troop also headed for Queen Elizabeth II Park to show islanders the various bits of kit and some of the techniques used to restore infrastructure after a hurricane.

A crowd watched a demonstration of chain-saw clearance techniques and asked questions regarding the equipment on display, which included quad bikes, trailers, tools, shelters and ration packs.

HMS Medway also hosted a lunch with dignitaries, including governor John Rankin and deputy premier, the honourable Dr Natalio Wheatley.

Commanding officer Chris Hollingworth and Commander Trim also spoke to the premier, the honourable Andrew Fahie, before the ships continued with its Caribbean patrols.

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