Royal Navy Warship, HMS Iron Duke and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Wave Ruler have completed their post Hurricane Gustav, re-assurance visit to the Cayman Islands.
As well as the ships patrols around Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, Iron Duke’s Lynx helicopter was made available to conduct damage assessment Saturday morning after Hurricane Gustav hit.
Throughout the period, the ships were primed to provide humanitarian relief if required.
The helicopter launched with the ship’s Second-In-Command Lieutenant Commander Dean Bassett onboard. On arrival at Cayman Brac, the district commissioner embarked and an aerial assessment of the damage to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
This proved invaluable to the Island’s disaster relief organisation and recovery plans could then be made, based upon the photographic evidence gathered during the flight.
On Sunday morning Iron Duke’s Captain Commander Mark Newland flew ashore to meet with Cayman Islands Governor, Stuart Jack. A further flight over the two Sister Islands allowed the Governor to see that progress with the recovery effort being made. The governor was particularly grateful to the Royal Navy in the form of HMS Iron Duke and RFA Wave Ruler for being in the right position to render assistance had Gustav been a more significant hurricane.
Commander Newland said, ‘It is clear from my conversation with the Governor this morning that The Royal Navy And Royal Fleet Auxiliary have provided the Cayman Islands with the confidence that we are available to help in the event of a hurricane threatening the Islands. I am just grateful that Gustav, powerful as it was, was not sufficient to cause much damage to the Cayman Islands. This is testament to the quality of their disaster relief organisation.’
Iron Duke and Wave Ruler have now completed their assistance and have been released from this operation to continue with their programmes.
They do, however, remain ready should future hurricanes threaten the UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean Region, over the course of what is anticipated to be an active hurricane season.