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Royal Navy’s Caribbean task group assembles ahead of hurricane season

11 June 2020
The Royal Navy’s task group in the Caribbean has come together once more as hurricane season preparations continue in earnest.

RFA Argus and HMS Medway are in the region to support British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean during hurricane season and to carry out counter-narcotics operations. 

The two ships met up in the seas near the Cayman Islands ahead of HMS Medway going on demanding exercise to practise getting humanitarian relief to island communities in the wake of a natural disaster.

Troops from the expert 3 Commando Brigade Crisis Response Troop were transferred over to Offshore Patrol Vessel Medway from support ship/helicopter carrier Argus, making sure the two ships can work seamlessly if and when they have to do this in the wake of a disaster.

Argus has already completed demanding exercises across the Caribbean, with hurricane season now in its early stages (the season runs from June to November).

Captain Henry Perks, of 24 Commando Royal Engineers, said: “Our troop is keen to get stuck in to help wherever we can.  

“We are practising working from HMS Medway, as when the hurricane hits we could be far away from Argus or any larger ships.”

The two ships are involved in the standing Atlantic Patrol tasking that offers support to the British Overseas Territories in the region.

Medway provides a permanent presence in the Caribbean to support British Overseas Territories as part of the Royal Navy’s Forward Presence programme, basing ships in regions key to the UK’s security and prosperity around the globe for several years at a time.

Argus has been in the region since early April to provide additional support.

The UK Task Group includes a number of other military units that are working together ready to respond to any need as it arises. 

There are aviation teams that run three Merlin Mk4 helicopters from 845 Naval Air Squadron, and one Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron, plus 1700 Naval Air Squadron.

Royal Marines from 47 Commando operate fast attack boats to intercept any suspicious craft that may be drug-running, and also to help land people and essential supplies ashore. 

24 Commando Royal Engineers have a crisis response troop on board, and they will be sent ashore to help local communities in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster.

In addition to those on board Argus and Medway, there are currently Security Assistance Teams from 30 Commando Royal Marines located on the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands to assist local governors with any planning and security considerations.

45 Commando are also providing a security presence on Turks and Caicos. 

We are practising working from HMS Medway, as when the hurricane hits we could be far away from Argus or any larger ships.

Captain Henry Perks

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