Grand Cayman’s Governors Beach will transform into a testing ground for disaster response and recovery Friday and Saturday with the arrival of Royal Navy vessel RFA Mounts Bay.

The Cayman Islands will be the first overseas territory visited by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary dock landing ship during its deployment in the Caribbean. The ship is part of the Royal Navy’s ongoing presence in the region and contributes to both disaster recovery and anti-narcotics efforts.

During the five-day stopover in the Cayman Islands, starting Thursday, U.K. military personnel will work with local law enforcement, hazard management workers, the fire service and Northward Prison on disaster relief training.

Part of Governors Beach will be closed to the public during the training to accommodate the landing of heavy equipment, as would occur after a hurricane.

Disaster management teams from other overseas territories will be present to learn from the exercise.

Governor Helen Kilpatrick said when a disaster strikes, response must be rapid.

“An operation of this kind allows us to test our ability to deploy immediate help at short notice and be prepared well in advance of any major disaster. We apologise for any disruption to the public on Governor’s Beach during these dates and ask for your understanding, given the importance of this exercise,” she said in a press release.

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