- Written by FREEMAN ROGERS
- Published: 25 September 2017
The Royal Navy ship HMS Ocean arrived in the territory on Friday, bringing more aid and personnel to assist in the hurricane relief effort.
The Ocean’s arrival means that there are more than 2,000 United Kingdom military personnel working on the relief effort in the region in the “largest deployment of UK personnel anywhere in the world,” according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
The Ocean — Britain’s biggest operational warship — carries nine helicopters, four landing craft, and 60 tonnes of aid that includes building material, humanitarian items and medical supplies, according to the Royal Navy.
A 96-person team that landed initially included six marine and weapon engineers who are assessing the state of Tortola’s critical infrastructure, focusing on the incinerator, telecommunications and power plants, the Navy stated in a press release.
“We not only have a wealth of experience and knowledge across different fields of engineering, but physically have the tools and equipment to really make a difference,” said Lieutenant Fergus Holland, the ship’s deputy weapon engineer officer.
After assisting the Virgin Islands, the Ocean will continue to other overseas territories affected by this month’s storms, as the Department for International Development works with OT governments on a long-term recovery plan, according to the Navy.
On Saturday, UK Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel landed at the Road Town heliport, where she was greeted by Governor Gus Jaspert and others.
Ms. Patel is in the territory to support aid efforts and thank the UK military and aid teams for their work, she stated Saturday on Twitter.
“I’ve just arrived here and I’ve flown over the islands and seen the extent of the devastation, where homes have been completely wrecked, roofs have been ripped off properties and homes,” she said in a video recorded shortly after her arrival. “And over the next couple days I’m going to be meeting local residents whose lives have been turned upside down by the devastation.”