Governor of Anguila visits HMS Ocean

The Governor of Anguilla and Chief Minister of Anguilla, have visited HMS Ocean, who is deployed in the Caribbean in the Wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship, today anchored off Road Point, Anguilla as part of her ongoing mission to render Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the region following hurricanes Irma and Maria.

HMS Ocean has deployed over 300 sailors and marines ashore and conveyed over 100 pallets of aid ashore by helicopter and landing craft whilst anchored off Road Town, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

The tempo of relief activity further increased with HMS Ocean’s significant air lift capacity utilised to move vital aid and supplies around the island of Anguilla to those most in need.

HMS Ocean is working closely with the local authorities to deliver support to Anguilla, precisely where it is needed. The building supplies, vehicles and engineering expertise we have provided should bolster the recovery effort.

Captain Robert Pedre

During their visit, the Governor of Anguilla, His Excellency Tim Foy OBE, and the Chief Minister, The Honourable Victor Banks, witnessed first-hand the role that the fleet flagship is playing in the region following the damage left in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The Governor and Chief Minister saw the significant amount of emergency relief and DFID aid stores held in the ship’s hangar, and were shown the HMS Ocean’s capabilities, including mechanical and electrical engineering and aviation expertise.

So far HMS Ocean has cleared of wreck from harbours, floated sunken barges, recovered submerged vehicles and repaired electrical generators – not to mention the distribution of tonnes of stores including nearly 1500 hygiene kits, 130,000 sterilising tablets, over 100 temporary shelters and six pickup trucks.

Engineering teams from HMS Ocean have also deployed into Anguilla and amongst other tasks, are currently restoring electrical and air conditioning supplies to the main hospital in Anguilla as well as works to ensure all but one of the island’s schools can be brought back into operation.

This significant heavy lift was made possible by landing craft and a Tailored Air Group of 9 helicopters including Wildcat and Merlin Mk 3 helicopters from 845 and 847 Naval Air Squadrons as well as Chinooks from the 18 Squadron Royal Air Force.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Ocean, Captain Robert Pedre, said: "It was a great honour to welcome the Governor and Chief Minister of Anguilla onboard the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship today.

“HMS Ocean is working closely with the local authorities to deliver support to Anguilla, precisely where it is needed. The building supplies, vehicles and engineering expertise we have provided should bolster the recovery effort.”

HMS Ocean’s short notice deployment to the Caribbean is a demonstration of the UK Government’s significant and ongoing commitment to ensure the stability and safety of the British Overseas Territories and their inhabitants.

At present there are over 2000 UK military personnel deployed to Op Ruman, including RFA Mounts Bay, which was pre-positioned to the region in preparation for the Hurricane season.