Royal Navy ready to assist if Gustav hits

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, August, 29, 2008 – Royal Navy warship, HMS Iron Duke has offered to provide assistance to regional governments as Tropical Storm Gustav moves through the northern Caribbean.

A release from the Royal Navy said it would be ready to provide humanitarian assistance in the event the hurricane causes damage ashore.

HMS Iron Duke is now operating in company with Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Ship Wave Ruler and the release said that between them, they are able to deploy numerous First Aid teams ashore, provide water and food, alongside engineering support if required by the Overseas Territories. 

“The key aspect is that Royal Navy and RFA personnel are available for that initial period after the hurricane has hit to provide initial relief and assistance to get local infrastructure and services back up and running,” it said. 

 “At the moment we are tracking Gustav closely and sat 24 hours behind the storm itself.  Both my own and Wave Rulers Ship’s Company’s are ready to provide assistance ashore if we are required by the Overseas Territories,” said HMS Iron Duke’s Captain, Command Mark Newland.

“The key issue is that Royal Navy personnel must work in support of the local efforts on the ground. The true expertise for dealing with these events lies in the Overseas Territories themselves. What we bring is a range of skills coupled with professional and motivated sailors, who if faced with difficult circumstances are able to assist.”

HMS Iron Duke has been deployed to the Caribbean region since late June and has been involved in Counter Drugs work with the United States Coastguard alongside providing reassurance to the United Kingdom Overseas Territories.