Local politicians, dignitaries, students, media and chefs boarded British warship HMS Severn during its visit to Cayman this week.
The ship’s brief stopover was part of its tour of duty in the Caribbean. The ship, with its crew of about 30, was docked in Hog Sty Bay in George Town on Sunday and Monday.
Governor Helen Kilpatrick and Premier Alden McLaughlin toured the ship, as did officers from Cayman’s marine police unit also went on board and discussed counter-narcotics operations with the crew.
British MasterChef finalist Adam Handling, who was visiting Cayman for the annual Cayman Cookout festival, also visited the ship, where he checked out the galley and learned about some of the challenges involved in catering to a crew at sea. Students from John Gray and Clifton Hunter high schools and from the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre also visited HMS Severn.
“It was a marvelous opportunity to expand my knowledge on naval duties and the operation of a military ship,” said Selena Sookoonsingh of the Cadet Corps at the John Gray High School detachment. She asked the crew and officers about female participation in training and leadership roles and was happy to hear that women were taking an active part in military force endeavors.
“Visiting the ship was a life-changing experience which might one day see me as captain of my own naval ship,” she said.
Vivian Worrell, also from John Gray’s Cadet Corps division, found out about the kinds of job opportunities within the British Navy and was interested to learn about equipment and machinery used to catch drug smugglers and track boats at sea. Fellow student Leroy Malcolm said he had been interested to see how the crew lived, the guns aboard, and where the crew went to get medical attention.
Ruth-Ann Morgan, another cadet, said, “Most of them said they travel the world and explore many places. They were prepared for almost anything – fires, natural disasters, you name it …. We have to be thankful for these people giving up their time with their family and friends to keep us safe.”
The crew also got a chance to see some of Cayman, and the ship’s football team took on Her Majesty’s Prison Northward team in a friendly match.
HMS Severn is a Portsmouth-based River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel which is stationed in the Caribbean until July. Its visit to Cayman was part of its Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North) deployment.
The ship replaced HMS Argyll on patrol in the Caribbean in December 2014. Its role is to provide maritime security, disaster relief capability and counter-narcotics support to British Overseas Territories and to promote the Royal Navy as a viable career option for young people.
Its next port of call is Barbados.
The ship’s brief stopover in Cayman was part of its tour of duty in the Caribbean.