(CNS): Tourists enjoying the beauty of Seven Mile Beach on Friday and Saturday could be in for a surprise when the Royal Navy simulates a post hurricane exercise in front of Government House. RFA Mounts Bay, a British naval auxiliary landing ship, will test its disaster recovery response and land a range of heavy equipment and supplies directly on Governor’s Beach.
RFA Mounts Bay begins a deployment to the Caribbean this week, starting in the Cayman Islands, the first of the British Overseas Territories on its ports of call. The UK maintains a year-round naval presence in the region to provide a rapid response to any emergency in the BOTs and for anti-narcotics work.
The vessel will be in Cayman for five days and the military personnel will join forces with Hazard Management, the Cayman Islands Fire Service, RCIPS and Northward Prison to deliver training, technical support, a ground clearance project and the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise.
Access to the part of Seven Mile Beach where the landing is taking place will be restricted during the exercise, when the landing of heavy duty equipment and the kind of supplies needed in the aftermath of a hurricane or other disaster will be unloaded from the vessel.
The drill begins Friday afternoon and will continue through Saturday, when representatives from other BOT disaster management teams will also be on Grand Cayman to watch and learn.
Governor Helen Kilpatrick said, “When disaster strikes, the response must be rapid, coordinated and appropriate to ensure effective delivery of relief and aid. An operation of this kind allows us to test our ability to deploy immediate help at short notice and be prepared well in advance of any major disaster. We apologise for any disruption to the public on Governor’s Beach during these dates and ask for your understanding, given the importance of this exercise.”
McCleary Frederick, Director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands, said that the responsibility for dealing with the aftermath of a disaster was with the Cayman government but that help of the UK military equipment was essential.
“We welcome the chance to test a coordinated response, which is essential during any emergency,” he added.
Members of the public are reminded to be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season and any other hazard. For tips on preparing yourself and your home, visit the HMCI at www.CaymanPrepared.ky
RFA Mounts Bay is one of three Landing Ship Docks (Auxiliary). During operational Service, RFA Mounts Bay has already played a key role in many amphibious exercises, including operations off Sierra Leone, the Baltic Regions, around the coast of the United Kingdom and Western Europe.
Mounts Bay is typically used to move Royal Marines, their vehicles and supplies ashore during amphibious operations. Most recently she has focused her efforts on trying to curb people trafficking/smuggling into Europe from Africa and the Middle East, and deal with the ongoing aftermath of Libya’s civil war in 2011.
Category: Local News