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Navy destroyer’s goodwill mission to the Bahamas

12 September 2023
A Royal Navy destroyer visited the Bahamas to help prepare defences for hurricane season four years on since a devastating storm hit the islands.

HMS Dauntless sailed into capital Nassau, where in 2019 RFA Mounts Bay helped more than 6,000 people during the UK’s mercy mission in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, a catastrophic Category 5 storm that left more than 70,000 homeless and caused billions of pounds worth of damage.

This year, the Type 45 destroyer is deployed to the Caribbean in the same role Mounts Bay was back in 2019 – providing firstly reassurance to island communities but ultimately humanitarian and disaster relief if a storm were to sweep the region. 

Sailors from Dauntless teamed up with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the ship’s embarked US Coast Guard team to support efforts in building hurricane defences and assist the islands’ young and old, via community goodwill group Lend a Hand and the Rotary Club.

Lieutenant Commander David Shine, who coordinated the activity, said: “It was a special privilege for the ship’s company of HMS Dauntless to work with members of the local community in Grant’s Town, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and volunteers from Lend a Hand and the Rotary Club. 

“To have achieved so much as a team, bringing together skills and knowledge across a variety of backgrounds and cultures was an immensely rewarding experience for which I am very proud.”

A community clean up saw two 30-foot skips filled with debris that would have otherwise caused potential harm in a hurricane. 

The clean-up also cleared the way for new structures to grow and support more citizens in the community.

More than 45 volunteers from the ship’s company led literacy classes with the children and group activities.

Hurricane shutters were constructed for the homes of senior citizens which now acts as an additional layer of protection for islanders.

Dauntless had a busy period alongside in the Bahamas, arriving in Nassau on the day the new Governor General of the Bahamas, Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt, was appointed and hosted a group from the Governor General’s Youth Award. 

The ship hosted a discussion with key people from the LGBTQ community in the Bahamas and conducted a faith visit with Bishop Laish Boyd, Bishop for the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. 

Many Royal Bahamas Defence Force Officers are trained in the UK at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth and the visit provided an opportunity for members of the ship’s company to reconnect with their Initial Naval Training classmates. 

Many sailors were hosted at the Coral Harbour Base and a celebration was hosted on Dauntless, attended by the Commander of the Bahamas Defence Force, Commodore Dr Raymond King. 

Lieutenant Commander David Shine added: “Four years’ ago, RFA Mounts Bay provided disaster relief to the Bahamas. It is important that we continue to build this fantastic partnership with our friends in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.”

HMS Dauntless is currently deployed in the Caribbean for six months on Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North) and has been monitoring the impact of recent hurricane activity in the region. 

The visit to Nassau came a mere few weeks after seizing more than a ton of cocaine and providing intelligence to local authorities which directly led to the seizure of a plane filled with narcotics on arrival in the Bahamas. 

British High Commissioner to The Bahamas, Thomas Hartley, said: ”On the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Dorian it is poignant we welcomed HMS Dauntless to The Bahamas. 

“The Royal Navy was the first international responder in 2019, and was able to deploy engineers, Marines, fresh water, and logistics support at short notice.
“HMS Dauntless offers the same capability if a hurricane was to strike this season too. 

“And much more, this visit provided an excellent an opportunity to showcase the Best of British – projecting our values and demonstrating our commitment to building the strongest links with our Caribbean partners. 

“Thank you to the people of Nassau for welcoming the crew so openly – I am glad this has given us the chance to bring Britain and the Bahamas closer together.”

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