RFA LYME BAY to Visit Montserrat for Disaster Exercises

LITTLE BAY – The British naval support ship RFA LYME BAY is scheduled to arrive in Montserrat on Thursday August 13, 2015 for a three-day visit during her deployment to the region as Atlantic Patrol Task North (APT(N)). This is a year-round commitment to the region in support of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) and counter narcotics operations.

RFA Lyme Bay
RFA Lyme Bay

According to a Government House press release during LYME BAY’s visit the Commanding Officer, Captain Paul Minter, will call on HE the Governor and the Premier as well as visiting the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. The majority of the visit will focus on contingency planning between the island’s experts and the ship’s own teams on the issue of disaster management. This will involve mutual capability briefings, planning meetings and conducting disaster relief exercises. The centrepiece will be an exercise in Little Bay on Friday August 14 which will test the ship’s ability to deploy its considerable assets ashore and Montserrat’s ability to co-ordinate a land-based response.

“In addition, the ship’s company will assist in several community projects, host a media visit and official reception onboard and their football team are looking forward to playing a match against a home team on Saturday 15th.

“LYME BAY has loaded humanitarian and disaster relief and UK Department for International Development (DfID) stores to support relief operations in the region. Prior to deployment the ship’s company of LYME BAY and her HADR troop completed a training package which tested and developed the ship’s company’s ability to plan and deliver support to relief operations. Since arriving in the Caribbean the ship has conducted exercises in Bermuda, Grand Cayman, Anguilla, Tortola and the Turks and Caicos Islands and is now preparing for their arrival in Montserrat.

 “A Royal Navy Lynx Mk8 helicopter is onboard for the deployment to conduct counter narcotics operations at sea and provide an airborne asset for surveillance, stores delivery and search and rescue tasking if required. Whilst in Montserrat the Lynx will take part in a search and rescue exercise.

“Speaking of the visit the Ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Paul Minter RFA said “My Ship’s Company and I are very much looking forward to the visit and to making and remaking relationships whilst being able to liaise with Disaster Management authorities regarding our capabilities.”

The Operations Officer, First Officer Chris Ovens explained: “Any visit takes a lot of planning from the ship, our hosts and the Defence Attaché. We hope to achieve everything expected of us and more in our short stay in Montserrat.”

Facts on the ship

RFA LYME BAY (L3007) is a Bay-class auxiliary landing ship dock (LSD(A)) of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). Ordered from Swan Hunter in 2000, the ship was launched in 2005. Lyme Bay entered service in late 2007; the last ship of the class to join the RFA.

The ships is manned by 97 Royal Fleet Auxiliary sailors, along with 23 Royal Naval personnel for helicopter operations, 18 Royal Logistic Corps soldiers to operate the mexeflote and 27 Royal Marines and Royal Engineers in the Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) Troop. (Total of 165)

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Service is a flotilla of 13 Naval Support Ships delivering afloat support to UK and Allied Armed Forces around the world. Owned by the Ministry of Defence, it is manned by British civilian sailors who are trained to Merchant Navy Standards prior to undertaking the military training required to operate alongside the Royal Navy.

Founded in 1905, the modern RFA is an essential element of the how the Royal Navy operates with freedom around the globe and is fully integrated into frontline groups of warships at sea and naval headquarters ashore, as well as having the ability to operate independently in most theatre s throughout the world.

The RFA supports a wide spectrum of operations from high tempo upthreat war-fighting to counter-piracy, disaster relief, counter-narcotics, law enforcement and evacuation operations.