The U.K. supply ship RFA Mounts Bay, which practiced disaster response and recovery exercises on Seven Mile Beach in July, arrived in the British Virgin Islands to help with the relief effort following Hurricane Irma.
The navy vessel carries about 40 Royal Marines and Army engineers and assisted the authorities by carrying out damage assessment from the air.
The ship is scheduled to move to safety over the weekend to avoid Category 4 Hurricane José which is expected to affect the region.
On Thursday, the RFA Mounts Bay stopped in Anguilla and used its pontoon boat to bring troops and equipment ashore to help repair local infrastructure and clear the airport runway for emergency flights.
Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters also transported six tonnes of humanitarian supplies to shore.
According to the Ministry of Defence the ship “can provide a high level of capability and flexibility during disaster relief operations” by delivering emergency supplies of food, water and personnel, as well as medical support, temporary shelter and sanitation and the repair of infrastructure.
The Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Ocean is also on her way to join the relief effort, the U.K. Department of Defence announced. The Ocean has abandoned her deployment in the Mediterranean and could take up to two weeks to arrive.
Meanwhile, a C17 military cargo plane took off from RAF Brize Norton today and will bring Royal Marines, engineers, medical supplies and aid including emergency shelter kits, rations and clean water.
Dutch troops boarded an air force plane in Eindhoven Friday to help with the relief effort on St. Maarten.
Two Dutch navy vessels are already stationed off the coast of the French-Dutch island. The Peelikan moored in the capital Philipsburg to offload equipment and aid, while the Zeeland used its helicopters to assess the damage from the air. A number of marines have also gone ashore amid local reports of looting.