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HMS Mersey visit to Grand Cayman

HMS Mersey visit to Grand Cayman
7 March 2016
Mersey arrived in George Town, Grand Cayman for a second attempt at visiting the UK Overseas Territory.

With high winds and rough seas cancelling her earlier port call, Mersey returned in better weather and took full advantage of her shallow draught to come alongside.

Most RN ships have to secure to buoys out at sea or go to anchor off George Town, meaning the sight of a white ensign in the port drew lots of attention, especially from visiting cruise liners and locals who are always keen to welcome the Royal Navy.

Grand Cayman is one of the three islands that make up the Cayman Islands and is situated just south of Cuba. 

It was great to get ashore and help out such a worthwhile cause, we’d like to thank all at the Sunrise Centre for such a warm welcome.

S Lt Cooke RN

The islands are also one of the six UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and the second Mersey has visited during her Atlantic Patrol Task (North) deployment so far.

Caymanians are very proud of their links to the UK and the Royal Navy and took advantage of the Ship being alongside to attend an evening reception and capability demonstration.

The Governor, Her Excellency Helen Kilpatrick CB was guest of honour, with the Deputy Premier The Honourable Moses Kirkconnell and Chief Justice Charles Quinn in attendance, along with representatives from Cayman Islands Hazard Management, who run the Island’s response to any natural disasters.

The Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr Richard Hewitt held a Captain’s lunch party with the Governor to honour Civil Servants from the Islands who had contributed to improving local communities, whilst 5 groups of school children were given tours of the Ship.

Mersey’s busy programme continued with a visit from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and their interceptor boat MV Guardian.

The Senior Engineering Officer Lt Cam Hunter and the Gunnery Officer Lt Will Dewing hosted members of the Police Service for training and briefs in engineering and boarding operations.

Five members of the Ship’s Company assisted with a community project at the Sunrise Centre, a school for adults with learning difficulties.

The sailors, led by SLt George Cooke helped to build raised vegetable beds and plots for the school, encouraging their pupils to become active and self-sufficient whilst hopefully selling for a small profit and to support local communities with healthy produce.

SLt Cooke said “It was great to get ashore and help out such a worthwhile cause, we’d like to thank all at the Sunrise Centre for such a warm welcome.”

Deteriorating weather meant that Mersey had to depart Grand Cayman earlier than expected to continue with her operational programme in the Caribbean.

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