HMS Lancaster visits Grand Cayman this week
A British Royal Naval frigate, on standby to provide disaster relief across the Caribbean during hurricane season, arrives in Grand Cayman on Thursday.
The HMS Lancaster is on a six-month tour of duty in the region and will offer support to the Cayman Islands in the event of a major storm. It will also be involved in anti-drug smuggling operations across the Caribbean.
Senior crew will meet with officials in Grand Cayman to discuss disaster planning during a four-day visit to the territory.
HMS Lancaster’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Steve Moorhouse, said: “I am looking forward to working with the governor’s office, the emergency services and the people of the Cayman Islands during the visit, so that when we return to sea we are in the best possible position to support the islands and respond swiftly and effectively in the event of a hurricane or any other emergency.”
As well as providing reassurance and security for British overseas territories, the Lancaster’s deployment will also see her undertake a range of other tasks across the Caribbean in support of British interests. These include the provision of humanitarian aid and disaster relief during the core hurricane season and counter narcotic operations with partner nations.
A spokesman said the 185-strong crew of HMS Lancaster were particularly looking forward to the Grand Cayman visit as it would be the first time on the island for many of the sailors.
“The opportunity to explore the wonders of a new Caribbean island, sample its culture and meet with the locals will provide the crew with a well-earned rest in between high tempo operations,” he said.
The Type 23 frigate has already visited the US and Bermuda since leaving its home port of Portsmouth, England, on May 28.
The Lancaster, nicknamed “the Queen’s frigate” after her sponsor, the Queen of England, will visit all six of the British overseas territories in the region, as well as several Commonwealth and Caribbean countries during its deployment.
The spokesman added: “These visits will provide the opportunity to train with other navies as well as demonstrate the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region.”
At 4,900 tonnes and 133 metres long, the HMS Lancaster is an impressive sight. It is fitted with an imposing array of weaponry, including Sea Wolf anti-air missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes and two military helicopters.
The ships most famous crew member and mascot is “Sunny” the parrot, renowned for her colourful language and for whistling the tune from the movie “The Great Escape”.
“When we return to sea we will be in the best possible position to support the islands and respond swiftly and effectively in the event of a hurricane or any other emergency.” STEVE MOORHOUSE