Tuesday, February 8, 2011

RFA to conduct Caribbean patrols

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is to conduct counter-narcotics patrols of the Caribbean as a result of Ministry of Defence budget cuts, according to a report in The Guardian.

Royal Navy warships such as Type 42 destroyer HMS Manchester, currently the subject of a documentary on Channel Five, had regularly conducted the counter-narcotics operations in the area, as well as providing "reassurance" to British overseas territories during the hurricane season from June to December.

In early 2010 a Ministry of Defence spokesman said that cover outside the hurricane season had been 'temporarily withdrawn' in order to meet in-year budgetary constraints, meaning no British ship was available to provide immediate disaster relief following the Haiti earthquake. 

Ships were later despatched to provide aid in the aftermath of the quake.

An MoD spokesman told the Guardian: "The Royal Navy will continue to provide a permanent presence in the Caribbean, able to respond to the full range of potential events including humanitarian disaster relief operations. During 2011 this will be provided by a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, enhanced with a naval party and helicopter during the core hurricane season."
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