HMS Medway Improves British Virgin Islands Disaster Plans

Sailors from HMS Medway have worked with officials from the British Virgin Islands to improve disaster-relief plans in the event of a hurricane.

The Royal Navy ship is permanently deployed to the Caribbean and regularly patrols the region, reassuring island communities during hurricane season.

Alongside support ship RFA Wave Knight, HMS Medway is part of a British task group ready to respond to natural disasters in the region.

A four-day visit to the Virgin Islands saw humanitarian relief specialists show off some of their equipment and valuable skills for helping devastated communities in the wake of a hurricane.

Sailors also joined those responsible for managing the Virgin Islands’ disaster-relief plans, the Department for Disaster Management, to develop their ability to react if the worst were to happen.

Together they studied communications for during and after a major hurricane and looked at their capability to carry out initial damage assessments and restoring vital services.

Commander Brian Trim, commander of the Royal Navy task group in the Caribbean, said: “The depth and breadth of experience amongst the experts at the table-top exercise was really impressive.

“The many lessons and ideas that were shared with my team will help to improve plans for disaster relief in the Virgin Islands. I’m truly grateful to everyone for giving of their time for the exercise.”

Sailors and 3 Commando Brigade’s Crisis Response Troop also headed for Queen Elizabeth II Park to show islanders the various bits of kit and some of the techniques used to restore infrastructure after a hurricane.

A crowd watched a demonstration of chain-saw clearance techniques and asked questions regarding the equipment on display, which included quad bikes, trailers, tools, shelters and ration packs.

HMS Medway also hosted a lunch with dignitaries, including Governor John Rankin and Deputy Premier, the Honorable Dr Natalio Wheatley.

Commanding Officer Chris Hollingworth and Commander Trim also spoke to The Premier, the Honorable Andrew Fahie, before continuing their Caribbean patrols.

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