RFA Lyme Bay Simulation Exercise Reveals Emergency Issues, Marijuana Fields Spotted
LITTLE BAY – It has been a busy two days for the British naval supply ship, the RFA LYME Bay, currently on a familiarisation visit to the island.
The ship arrived at Port Little Boy on Thursday August 13th on a three-day visit as part of her deployment in the region. The goal was to familiarise herself with conditions and to lend support to the British overseas territories during the Atlantic hurricane season and counter narcotics operations.
Captain Paul Minter paid a familiarisation visit to and hosted HE Governor Elizabeth Carriere and Hon Premier Donaldson Romeo to lunch on board the ship. While on island the ship’s crew also visited the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, met with the Press and officials from the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA). They also engaged with the DMCA in a simulation exercise involving local organisations designed to test the ability of both agencies to cope with a disaster. Before leaving island, the ship’s team will engage locals in a football match at the Blakes Football stadium.
According to the logistics officer, helicopter flights over the island located three marijuana growing sites in the exclusion zone. Officers of the Royal Montserrat Police Force who were on board are expected to visit and eradicate these sites.
The crew was also involved in responding to a distress call from a vessel which capsized in the Isles Bay area.
At a debriefing exercise on Friday, all agencies involved in the simulation met at the DMCA conference room to report on their part of the operations and to assess their effectiveness. The simulation involved collaborating following the passage of a storm which struck Montserrat, damaged waterlines at Killicrankie and affected the water supply to the island. The activity confirmed the difficulty of manoeuvering some of the large vehicles which had been landed from the ship around some of the corners on the roads on Montserrat. [They were landed aboard the mexeflote landing platform dispatched from the back of the ship.] It also revealed one potentially serious problem, a broken pipe in the Killicrankie area which needs immediate attention. It also revealed the need for additional equipment to facilitate the communication systems of the ship’s crew and the local agencies.
HE Governor Carrriere and Premier Romeo both addressed the gathering and thanked the ship’s crew for their involvement. While not wanting to see them again soon (at least not under disaster conditions) it is comforting to know that a working relationship had been forged which would benefit Montserrat in case a disaster strikes.
The ship is due to leave Montserrat at midnight on Saturday 15th for other British Overseas territories.