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RFA Mounts Bay supports clear up operation during return visit to British Virgin Islands

180116 RFA Mounts Bay returns to the British Virgin Islands
16 January 2018
The ship’s company of RFA Mounts Bay received a warm welcome across Tortola during a three-day visit to the island still recovering from the devastating hurricanes of 2017.

The landing vessel provided emergency humanitarian aid and disaster relief in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which swept through the Caribbean in September 2017, helping to restore power and fresh water across the British Virgin Islands, and returned to provide further assistance with the clear up operation.

There was no shortage of volunteers from the crew - drawn from a mix of RFA personnel, members of the embarked RLC team and Royal Naval medical staff - during the visit, who were called upon to assist in the clearing up of debris from two areas of the Island post Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The first visit was to the Emergency Response Centre, normally the main hub for Disaster Relief on Tortola, which along with other government buildings also bore the brunt of the storm during the hurricanes of 2017.

The volunteers were involved in clearing debris from inside and outside. A significant feat, which was nevertheless competently carried out with everyone working hard together to complete the task. 

The ships company has been warmly welcomed wherever they have been over the weekend visit with universal thanks being expressed for the relief and support work that was provided in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Captain David Buck OBE, Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay

The second visit was to Elmore Stoutt High School, also caught up in last year’s devastation - the lower floor and approximately ten classrooms were cleared of debris, swept and squared off.

The Mounts Bay volunteers were joined by the Governor of BVI Gus Jaspert and his family, and the Deputy Governor Rosalie Adams, who also helped in the clear up operation.

Captain David Buck OBE, Commanding Officer Mounts Bay, said, “It has been a privilege for the Mounts Bay team to return to Tortola, the scene of such devastation following Hurricane Irma in September last year. The ships company has been warmly welcomed wherever they have been over the weekend visit with universal thanks being expressed for the relief and support work that was provided in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

“The resilience of the local population has been readily apparent and despite the fact that a full recovery is still potentially two years away, their spirit and determination is undiminished. I was therefore thrilled to be able to dispatch small teams to assist the ongoing and massive clear up operation to work alongside His Excellency, The Governor Gus Jaspert, his family and staff.

“Although exhausted and a little sunburnt, everyone involved returned to the ship bursting with pride in the knowledge that they had helped in some way and taken away life long memories in the process”.

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