RFA Wave Knight breaks down in Caribbean

A naval supply ship has broken down in the Caribean

Monday, 28th November 2016, 8:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 3:57 pm
RFA Wave Knight dockside at St Vincent Caribbean Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight, a tanker on anti-narcotics and disaster relief duties in the region, developed a problem yesterday which meant it could not leave its St Vincent mooring and head to the next stop, Grenada.

The ship is currently hosting Prince Harry as he tours the area.

Harry had hoped to enjoy some downtime from his 15-day tour, during a designated travel day, by spending a few hours at an undisclosed location.

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Last night Harry observed a moment’s silence for Fidel Castro when he attended a drinks reception.

The Prince was put in the potentially awkward position by the Governor General of St Vincent, Sir Frederick Ballantyne, who is the Queen’s representative in the Commonwealth realm.

Sir Frederick asked guests at the reception, jointly hosted by himself and the country’s Prime Minister, to observe a moment’s silence on the day the communist dictator died aged 90.

Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, explained that: “Castro was a good friend of the island.”

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “Day eight of the tour, was a designated travel day. The journey from St Vincent and the Grenadines to Grenada was due to take six hours and the tour party planned to stop along the way for lunch.

“Due to a technical problem, RFA Wave Knight was unable to leave St Vincent as planned. Prince Harry and the tour party remains in the country and went to a nearby island for a private afternoon ahead of week two.

“Contingency plans are in place and there is no current expectation that the second half of the tour will be impacted by the technical problem with Wave Knight. We are looking forward to meeting the people of Grenada tomorrow.”

Harry and his entourage stayed on board RFA Wave Knight until midday today hoping it would be fixed, but to date the ship is still broken down.

If the problem persists Harry will have to change plans and fly to Grenada instead, almost certainly in a chartered aircraft, and book into hotels rather than sleeping on the ship as he has been in recent days.

Instead of stopping at an island out to sea the Prince and his group were taken to a nearby St Vincent outcrop for lunch.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “RFA Wave Knight experienced a minor technical issue. This has not caused delay to the royal tour, or affected the operational commitments of the ship.”