Royal Navy stays put in Caribbean

THE VALLEY, Anguilla, Monday April 4, 2011 – The United Kingdom’s Royal Navy is to continue a permanent presence in the Caribbean, focused mainly on Overseas Territories.

That’s according to a statement from the Governor’s Office in Anguilla, one of those territories, which said the Royal Navy would remain in order to “respond to the full range of foreseeable contingencies”.

“The primary purpose of the Royal Navy in the Caribbean is to deliver security and reassurance to the UK Overseas Territories, specifically in disaster relief operations,” it said.

“In the event of a humanitarian disaster, it will deliver initial military assistance.  During 2011 this will be provided by a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, enhanced with a naval party and helicopter during the hurricane season.  This will provide a broadly comparable capability to previous years.”

In February, the UK government said it was abandoning its warship patrols of the Caribbean, for the first time since the Second World War, because of the Royal Navy’s funding crisis.

It said a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, enhanced with a naval party and helicopter, would be used during the core hurricane season.

The Royal Navy said when its vessels are not engaged in disaster support activity, spare capacity is used to disrupt and interdict consignments of illicit narcotics trafficked through the region en route from Latin America to the UK, Europe and the US and that work has been highly successful.

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