RFA Wave Knight, as part of the Caribbean Task Group, recently visited St Vincent and the Grenadines to discuss humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities and to carry out helicopter surveying tasks.
Whilst alongside, The Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves and other distinguished guests were welcomed on board. They were able to see first-hand some of the HADR capabilities that are held on board RFA Wave Knight, demonstrated by 24 Cdo Royal Engineers Crisis Response Troop.
Captain Ali Clack, Commanding Officer RFA Wave Knight, said: “This is RFA Wave Knight’s second visit to St Vincent and the Grenadines this year. Our last was in June when we moved Humanitarian Aid donated by the people of Barbados in response to the devastating eruption of La Soufrière. During this visit we were able to display some of the Task Group’s other Humanitarian and Disaster Relief capabilities and discussed how the UK can further support the region as it emerges from a globally difficult year.”
In September, the Wildcat helicopter supported St Vincent and the Grenadines by transporting replacement seismic monitoring equipment on to the summit of La Soufrière volcano, which had been damaged by the eruption in April.
Further support was provided on this most recent visit in when two sorties took place. One for scientists to take photographic data of the volcano’s interior and for checking the channels of the lava flows and, in addition, by using the Wildcat’s infra-red camera to survey the activity in the base of the Caldera.
The second flight allowed the Minister of Finance, Hon. Mr. Camillo Gonsalves to survey the damage done by the eruption and volcanic flow. His main aim was to get an aerial survey of the sorts of infrastructure repair work required, particularly around the towns and villages worst affected by the eruption’s ash-fall, and where the flows had effectively cut some remote areas off from the rest of the island.
Lieutenant Keith Webb, the 210 Flight Commander, 815 Squadron, said: “The Royal Navy has a proud history of scientific endeavour, and to be able to contribute to the work of the National Emergency Management Organisation by monitoring an active volcano was a privilege. And it contributed to our continuing mission of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief in the Caribbean region – I only regret that the weather prevented us from doing more!”
RFA Wave Knight is now continuing routine patrols as part of the UK’s Caribbean Task Group, standing ready to assist in the event of any natural disasters and to continue with counter-illicit trafficking operations, which are part of the UK’s commitment to provide security in the region and help tackle Serious and Organised Crime. It is conducted in close cooperation with international partners. RFA Wave Knight has already had considerable success this year and successfully seized large drug hauls and hope for more such success in the weeks ahead.