HMS Lancaster Visits
The Royal Navy's 436-foot frigate, the HMS Lancaster, is visiting Grand Cayman as part of a familiarisation and support tour of Britain's Caribbean Overseas Territories (COTs) during the 2013 hurricane season.
HMS Lancaster will spend the hurricane season - from June to November - in Caribbean waters ready to lend a hand to the COTs in the event of a storm-hit or other natural disaster.
Commanding Officer (CO) Steve Moorhouse said the ship carries expertise in a number of fields, as well as some essential supplies, in addition to a helicopter. Additional supplies can be requisitioned, if necessary, from RFA Wave Knight, an accompanying Royal Navy tanker that serves as a supply vessel.
Should the need arise, the vessel has the ability to reach a COT between 24 and 36 hours.
The Lancaster arrived from Bermuda at 10.00 a.m. on Thursday and will be in the Cayman Islands until 10 a.m. on Sunday, 23 June 2013. Next, it sails to the Turks and Caicos Islands, followed by visits to Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat, in that order, Commander Moorhouse stated.
Explaining the vessel's mission, the CO, who heads a crew of 190 personnel, including four women officers, remarked: "The Cayman Islands are the second of the UK overseas territories that Lancaster has visited during her six month deployment to the Caribbean. I am looking forward to working with Governor's Office, the emergency services and the people of the Cayman Islands during the visit so that when we return to sea we are in the best possible position to support the islands and respond swiftly and effectively in the event of a hurricane or any other emergency."
In addition to calling on the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the Premier, the CO also met the Director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) and the Acting Commissioner of Police. Teams of crew members also met with the air support and marine units of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, as well as top personnel at the Cayman Islands Hospital.
Over the summer, the ship will also participate in joint patrols against narcotics trafficking, along with the US Coast guard, as well as French and Dutch vessels in the region.
The ship's Weapon Engineer Officer Lt Cdr Adrian Gubby commented, "HMS Lancaster is a well-protected frigate which will be essential when conducting counter narcotic patrols through the summer." He added, "All warships are fitted with an impressive array of communications which will be essential in the event of a natural disaster to help coordinate the relief effort."
Staff rest and recreation (R&R) scheduled during the Grand Cayman visit includes friendly rugby and football matches on Saturday (June 22), as well as shore leave for a number of crew members.
For further information contact: Bina Mani