HMS Lancaster Visit
Published 21st June 2013, 10:17am
Lt. Col Chris Gunning, Defence Advisor Caribbean, Chief Petty Officer Allan Hurley and Commander Steve Moorhouse, Captain of HMS Lancaster, a type 23 frigate met with staff from Hazard Management Cayman Islands on Thursday. HMS Lancaster arrived for a four day visit to the Cayman Islands on Thursday June 20th and has been deployed to the Atlantic Patrol over the course of the 2013 hurricane season. The warship will offer humanitarian aid and disaster relief support to Cayman Islands and other Overseas Territories if any of the Islands are impacted by a hurricane or other disaster.
HMS Lancaster carries a crew of 185, and is 436 feet long, 53 feet wide and draws 24 feet. There are two helicopters on board the destroyer (Lynx and a Merlin). Commander Moorhouse informed HMCI Director, McCleary Frederick that a helicopter could be made available for an initial damage assessment of the Cayman Islands within a few hours following an impact from a hurricane.
In a typical scenario HMS Lancaster would follow in the wake of hurricane and could be moored off the Cayman Islands within forty eight hours of impact. The ship could serve as an incident command centre (if needed) and has the capability of producing 70 tons of water per day. The ship also has a full suite of communications infrastructure and can broadcast radio signals if communication towers are damaged. Commander Moorhouse also indicated that the ship could accommodate as many 300 people for a 24 hour period if an emergency evacuation of tourists or residents was called for after a hurricane impact.
During the course of the visit to Cayman, Commander Moorhouse and the officers of HMS Lancaster will also meet with representatives from first response agencies including the Police, Fire and Health Services. The ship can offer uniformed manpower in the aftermath of disaster and has personnel who are trained in medical care and firefighting.
HMS Lancaster will be joined in the Atlantic patrol area by RFA Wave Knight, a Wave-class fast fleet tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary with carries fuel, food and other supplies.
In between visits to the Overseas Territories, HMS Lancaster will be conducting counter narcotics patrols in conjunction with the US Coast Guard but will remain at high readiness throughout the deployment to provide support and assistance in the wake of a hurricane or other natural disaster.
The ship underwent an extensive refit in 2011 and 2012 and upgrades include the latest version of the Seawolf missile defence system as well as a new flight deck. Seawolf shields the frigate against air attack and can track – and destroy – a target the size of a cricket ball travelling at three times the speed of sound.