Navy ship heading for Cayman

The HMS Mersey will be in port in Cayman this week. – PHOTO: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

British Royal Navy ship the HMS Mersey, which assists with anti-drug trafficking operations and is on standby for disaster relief in the region, will call into Grand Cayman on Thursday.

The 250-foot vessel, with a crew of 48, left its home port of Portsmouth in the U.K. in January and will be on patrol in the northern Atlantic until July. The ship has a remit to provide “security and assurance” to the U.K.’s Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and will visit all six during her time in the region.

Joint exercise planned

During the visit to Grand Cayman, the ship’s crew will conduct a joint exercise with the police marine unit. There will also be an evening reception and tours of the vessel for local students.

On Friday, crew members will take part in a community project with the Sunrise Adult Training Center in West Bay, helping to create a vegetable garden at the facility.

Some of the crew will also take part in the Caybrew Challenge Quiz with a team of local football fans.

Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Richard Hewitt said, “I’m looking forward to bringing Mersey to Grand Cayman and to continue to show the Royal Navy’s commitment to U.K. Overseas Territories, as well as working with organizations such as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Marine Unit.”

The HMS Mersey is one of the Royal Navy’s four River Class offshore patrol vessels.

The ship has a doctor and medical team on board in case assistance is needed in a disaster.

The vessel can make 10 tons of fresh water per day and is also able to embark shipping containers of aid and equipment if required, using her own cranes, according to a press statement from the Governor’s Office.

“The Mersey will also reinforce trade links with Central America and reaffirm relationships with foreign partners, including the Mexican Navy. She will also take part in the multinational exercise Trade Winds 16 in June. Additionally she will conduct counter-narcotics patrols with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment team embarked for boarding operations,” the statement said.