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Sailors team up to clean beaches

Fort Rosalie crew members assist Government’s Recreation, Parks and Cemeteries Unit to clean up beaches.

Sailors from Royal Fleet Ancillary (RFA) Fort Rosalie assisted the Cayman Islands Government’s Recreation, Parks and Cemeteries Unit on Thursday, 2 February by cleaning the beaches next to the Governor’s house and Smith Cove.

The 10-person team was accompanied by Mr. Benjamin Seymour, supervisor of the George Town section. The crew began cleaning the beach shortly before 8:00 a.m. at the Governor’s  Beach and even worked through the rain. Then Mr. Seymour took the crew to Smith Barcadere where they also raked the beach and picked up debris along the coastline.

“The visit to Grand Cayman was recreational; however, whenever the RFA ships visit, no matter their purpose, they are always willing to assist with community projects,” explained Third Officer (Systems) George Counsell.

“As such, we thought it might be a nice idea to see if some of the crew could do something constructive on land to improve a small part of Cayman, whether it is building, painting, repairing or general tidying up. Plus, this was a nice break from the routine of the ship and we give back to the community,” he added.

Fort Rosalie has been deployed in the Caribbean as part of Atlantic Patrol (North) (AP(N)) since the beginning of December, carrying out a number of official duties (e.g. relating to the recent UK/Caribbean Forum in Grenada) and activities related to drug interdiction. She has made stops in the United States, Jamaica, Grenada and now Grand Cayman.

Acting Deputy Chief Officer for the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture Jonathon Jackson on behalf of the Ministry thanked the Fort Rosalie crew for their time and effort. “Ugly trash on our beautiful beaches is not a good sight to see. The Recreation, Parks and Cemeteries Unit works hard to keep our beach clean. It is always good to get help and we thank the crew for doing their part.”

HE Governor Duncan Taylor said he was delighted that the AP(N) ship had offered to help. “They prove they are good stewards, not only by doing their part to protect the borders, but in wanting to keep the environment clean. We in the Cayman Islands are grateful for their assistance.”

Gavin Kennedy rakes the beach at Smith Barcadere.

Fort Rosalie has a crew of 149, including 10 women. She is captained by Captain Ross Ferris, who was born in 1954 in Feock in Cornwall.  He joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 1972 as a Deck Cadet, initially aboard TS Worcester at Greenhithe on the Thames.

Fort Rosalie was built by Scott-Lithgow, Greenock and entered service as RFA Fort Grange in 1978.  Her name was changed to RFA Fort Rosalie in 2000 to avoid confusion with RFA Fort George. When fully laden, she displaces 23,384 tonnes and with her Scott-Sulzer RND90 22,300 horsepower main engine, can achieve speeds of up to 22 knots.  She is fitted with a bow thrust unit for slow speed maneuvering.

She can replenish warships and other RFAs at sea from a cargo of stores, victuals and ammunition. The flight deck is capable of operating four Westland Sea King helicopters and when carried, up to 45 Royal Navy air crew are embarked.

The present Fort Rosalie is the second to bear the name. The first Fort Rosalie was a WW2 standard ship built by United Shipyards Canada. She entered RFA service in 1945 and served until 1973.

Fort Rosalie served in the Falklands Campaign in 1982, Operation Desert Storm 1991 and Operation Telic 2003.


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