October 1, 2020

Cayman: Governor bids farewell to Royal Navy Teams

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From The Cayman Islands Governor’s Office

539 RAIDING SQUADON CONDUCTS SERIALS WITH HMS MEDWAY Pictured: 539 Raiding Squadron conducts boat drills conducts with HMS Medway off the coast of Cayman Islands. An element of 47 Commando which are on RFA Argus have been working with HMS Medway conducting boat drills. HMS Medway is one of two operation Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) deployed out on worldwide deployment. She will help out if hurricane relief is required. The Royal Navy plays an essential part of the UK’s military response to support people affected by Hurricanes by providing humanitarian and disaster relief to the Caribbean Islands.

This week, as the RCIPS police helicopter returns to work, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship Argus will be setting sail.

During its two-week stay, RFA Argus has provided a solid base on the horizon for the Merlin and Wildcat helicopters to work from.

RFA ARGUS CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM HELP THE LOCAL COMMUNITY Pictured: Ranks from RFA Argus crisis response team carrying out charity work at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Gardens on the Cayman Island. 24 Commando Royal Engineers and other elements from the crisis response team from RFA Argus have been helping in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Gardens on the Cayman Islands. They have carried out charity work using there professional skills around the site. The botanic gardens opened in 1994 and shows the elegance of a traditional Caymanian garden with startling beauty of an exotic floral display. It is owned jointly by the Cayman Island Government and the National Trust for the Islands. The gardens are also famous for its blue Iguana which are on the endangered watch list. RFA Argus is a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. It has a 100-bed medical complex on board. She acts as a floating medical facility. The Royal Navy plays an essential part of the UK’s military response to

They have become a familiar sight on the horizon and the troops on board have taken part in disaster management exercises, tested their resources in the Botanical Park and practised their board and search operations with the Cayman Islands Coastguard. Sadly due to COVID-19 the ship capability  chopper OVID-9demonstrations have not been completed but the ship has provided a video of its facilities to help the local familiarisation process.

The Merlin Mark 4 helicopters are from 845 Naval Air Squadron and the Wildcat aircraft from 815 Naval Air Squadron, both based in Yeovilton. Together they form a Tailored Air Group (TAG) which stepped in to support the RCIPS helicopter X-RAY ONE.

RFA ARGUS CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM HELP THE LOCAL COMMUNITY Pictured: Ranks from Crisis Response team huddle together as a Merlin from 845 Naval Air Squadron takes off. 24 Commando Royal Engineers and other elements from the crisis response team from RFA Argus have been helping in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Gardens on the Cayman Islands. They have carried out charity work using there professional skills around the site. The botanic gardens opened in 1994 and shows the elegance of a traditional Caymanian garden with startling beauty of an exotic floral display. It is owned jointly by the Cayman Island Government and the National Trust for the Islands. RFA Argus is a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. It has a 100-bed medical complex on board. She acts as a floating medical facility. The Royal Navy plays an essential part of the UK’s military response to support people affected by Hurricanes by providing humanitarian and disaster relief to the Caribbean Islands. When disaste

They carried out familiarisation flights to identify possible landing spots for their disaster management plans but were on also on hand for a sizeable drug seizure at the beginning of their stint, provided aerial surveillance of a number of road traffic incidents and more recently lent support to the rescue of some kayakers.

The search and rescue operation happened on Thursday as they were returning to the ship from a previous job.  Within minutes of receiving the distress call they were able to locate the missing people and direct marine units to the scene.

RFA ARGUS CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM HELP THE LOCAL COMMUNITY Pictured: Ranks from RFA Argus crisis response team carrying out charity work at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Gardens on the Cayman Island. 24 Commando Royal Engineers and other elements from the crisis response team from RFA Argus have been helping in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Gardens on the Cayman Islands. They have carried out charity work using there professional skills around the site. The botanic gardens opened in 1994 and shows the elegance of a traditional Caymanian garden with startling beauty of an exotic floral display. It is owned jointly by the Cayman Island Government and the National Trust for the Islands. The gardens are also famous for its blue Iguana which are on the endangered watch list. RFA Argus is a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. It has a 100-bed medical complex on board. She acts as a floating medical facility. The Royal Navy plays an essential part of the UK’s military response to

Petty Officer Air Crewman Lee Niall, said: “We were returning to the ship when the call came in but we were able to get there quickly and then direct the local units straight to the kayakers. Search and Rescue is something we can always assist with even when on other taskings. We can react fast, so we are always ready to help with rescues if needed.”

Meanwhile members of the crisis troop 24 Commando Royal Engineers troop on board participated in an exercise on Colliers Beach and have more recently been using their combat engineering skills to help with some maintenance work at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park.

RFA ARGUS CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM HELP THE LOCAL COMMUNITY Pictured: Ranks from RFA Argus crisis response team carrying out charity work at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Gardens on the Cayman Island. 24 Commando Royal Engineers and other elements from the crisis response team from RFA Argus have been helping in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Gardens on the Cayman Islands. They have carried out charity work using there professional skills around the site. The botanic gardens opened in 1994 and shows the elegance of a traditional Caymanian garden with startling beauty of an exotic floral display. It is owned jointly by the Cayman Island Government and the National Trust for the Islands. The gardens are also famous for its blue Iguana which are on the endangered watch list. RFA Argus is a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. It has a 100-bed medical complex on board. She acts as a floating medical facility. The Royal Navy plays an essential part of the UK’s military response to

The work at the park was to clear an invasive species of Logwood from parts of the botanical gardens’ fence line to prevent the green iguana from entering the gardens.

All the members of the team are combat engineers but they also specialise in additional skills which would make them excellent support following a hurricane or similar natural disaster.

Sapper Kieran McMann said: “This was good practice for our chainsaw operators who might be needed to clear routes and landing sites, and we have quad bikes, generators and other equipment we can use to provide disaster relief.”

845 MERLIN RESPONDS TO EMERGENCY SEARCH AND RESCUE CALL Pictured (L-R): PO Aircrew Lee Niall, Lt Steve Doughty. Lt Cdr Gaz Wardle, Sgt Tom Goy RM who were in the Merlin at the time of the call. A Merlin Mk 4 helicopter from 845 NAS responded to a call for help when flying a routine patrol over the Cayman Islands on Sat 20 Jun. Some Kayakers had been spotted in rough seas outside the reef, and appeared to be in distress. The Port authority and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service helped relay the message to the Aircrew in the Merlin, and the instantly went to investigate. They found 3 people swimming near a kayak in open water and remained with them, relaying their location to the teams on the shore until a local boat could come and check they were safe.

“In my team there are soldiers with different trades ranging from signaller to electrician, plumber and even bricklayers. Conditions were hard in the park and the troop worked long hours in the heat but they were glad of the chance to hone their skills.”

John Lawrus, General Manager of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park, said: “These guys have put in an incredible amount of work clearing fence lines, helping remove the possibility for invasive species, such as the green iguanas, to make it back into the Botanic park, and generally providing an incredible asset to us here in the community.”

Meanwhile the Royal Marines aboard have been carrying out exercises with the Cayman Islands Coastguard to ensure they’re ready if required for counter-drugs trafficking and disaster relief operations. 

The green beret marines are crucial to the operation to quickly land supplies, emergency aid and the crisis response troop.

His Excellency The Governor Mr Martyn Roper said: “I would like to thank the UK Ministry of Defence and in particular the Royal Navy for their strong support over the last couple of weeks providing cover for our Police helicopter. It is a signal of the UK’s commitment to the security of the Overseas Territories and a reassuring presence during hurricane season.

“It’s been a good opportunity to learn and understand the capabilities of the new ships and in particular how the helicopters would provide us with the support we might need in a post-hurricane scenario.

“COVID-19 has interfered with some of the usual visits and tours that would normally be run to help us with that learning process but we have put virtual meetings and videos to good use.”

ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF ROYAL NAVY

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