Amphibious Operation Tests Response Capacity
Published 7th July 2017, 4:26pm
RFA Mounts Bay tested their disaster response capability on Friday, July 7th. The amphibious operation tested the ship’s ability to land vehicles and equipment on Seven Mile Beach. The capacity to land heavy equipment, water and medical supplies could prove useful for the Cayman Islands in the aftermath of a hurricane or earthquake, especially if the main dock in George Town is damaged. The exercise was considered successful, with a track being laid down on the beach and the equipment and vehicles making it off the landing barge and onto the shore without incident.
The ship visit also provided an opportunity for Hazard Management Cayman Islands and officials from the RCIPS and other first response agencies to meet with the ship’s crew, and review the possible range of support that could be provided by the Mounts Bay auxiliary ship which is expected to remain in the Caribbean for the remainder of the 2017 hurricane season.
The vessel features a large storage compartment which can accommodate up to 32 battle tanks, but with disaster relief being the main operational focus for the ship for the next 5 months, the main compartment is currently filled with earth moving equipment, all-terrain vehicles, medical supplies and other items that would be useful assets in the response phase of a crisis.
The Mounts Bay is expected to follow in behind the path of hurricanes that have the potential to impact the overseas territories, thereby providing timely support and relief should it be needed or requested. One of the main capacities of the ship is provided by the crew itself; approximately 20 Royal Engineers are on board the vessel and they are skilled at fixing equipment such as diesel generators and communications systems. The Mounts Bay also has a fast helicopter that provides a useful damage assessment capability. The ship also has the potential to provide post impact evacuation for residents, for example this could prove useful if the runways in the Sister Islands were impacted.