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RFA Mounts Bay’s ‘Herculean efforts’ to help British Virgin Islanders

Operation Ruman
13 September 2017
Power and fresh water is now flowing to hundreds of British Virgin islanders thanks to the ‘herculean’ efforts of RFA Mounts Bay.

Continuing her support for the region, which began last Thursday, yesterday personnel from the ship helped people on four different islands – Jost van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Anegada.

On Virgin Gorda, the third largest island in the chain and home to 4,000 people, RFA engineers worked for four hours in stifling heat to get a power station running again.

It was key not only to providing electricity to homes in the Tetor Bay district of the island, but also to the desalination plant – which turns sea water into fresh water for locals.

In Road Town, Mounts Bay’s Mexeflote powered raft delivered masses of DIY stores – 75 sheets of plywood, 75 sheet of corrugated iron, 100 planks of timber, a couple of wheelbarrows and an assortment of hand tools.

The ship’s Wildcat helicopter spent ten hours in Caribbean skies either delivering supplies – fresh water especially – or transporting personnel ashore.

This including flying in emergency supplies, including three tonnes of bottled water and a half a tonne of food, to the residents Jost van Dyke, an island with a population of 300. The supplies will aid inhabitants as they begin to restore essential supplies.

It’s been another highly-successful day delivering life support to island communities: more food, water and building supplies delivered

Captain Stephen Norris RFA, Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay

The helicopter also flew Governor Augustus Jaspert and his staff to Anegada, the most northerly, second largest, but sparsely populated island in the overseas territory.

His visit to meet some of the 285 islanders resulted in an urgent delivery of half a tonne of water by the Wildcat.

Mounts Bay, located in waters just off Road Town, also acted as a floating petrol station, filling up Virgin Islands police boats.

After five continuous days of support, Captain Stephen Norris RFA, Mounts Bay’s Commanding Officer, said his team – sailors, soldiers, Royal Marines, Fleet Air Arm, medics, engineers – had made another ‘significant contribution’ to restoring services across the British Virgin Islands.

“It’s been another highly-successful day delivering life support to island communities: more food, water and building supplies delivered,” he added.

“I am particularly proud of the RFA engineers who worked on a high-voltage power plant without any technical drawings in order to restore power to a significant number of people.

Captain Norris continued, "To witness the level of destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma is truly shocking and humbling and the thoughts of all on RFA Mounts Bay go out to those in the Overseas Territories that have been affected by this tragedy.

“Faced with the herculean task of attending several devastated islands has been immense and I can only praise the professionalism and tireless dedication of everyone onboard. We will continue with this task for as long as it takes.”

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