Royal Navy Brings Disaster Relief Assistance to Bahamas

Crewmembers from Mounts Bay unload bottled water at Great Abaco Island (Royal Navy)

Published Sep 6, 2019 5:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary RFA Mounts Bay has started delivering essential aid to people in the northern Bahamas, which have been devastated by the high winds and storm surge of Hurricane Dorian. 

The amphibious support vessel has already provided support to Great Abaco Island, delivering shelter kits, water and other basic items. A RIB boat was deployed from Mounts Bay with a disaster relief team to join up with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to unload aid to those worst hit by Hurricane Dorian.

"RFA Mounts Bay has been working alongside the Bahamian National Emergency and Management Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard, using our Wildcat helicopter to conduct initial assessments on Abaco Island, and we have landed reconnaissance troops ashore," said Captain Rob Anders, the vessel's commanding officer. “We hope that our presence in the area in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian will provide some peace of mind and reassurance to all those affected.”

The RFA Mounts Bay crew have already delivered shelter kits, ration packs and water. The Wildcat will also be airlifting relief to outlying, cut off communities is liaison with the Royal Bahamian Defence Force. Soon, Mounts Bay will bring ashore her heavy plant equipment, including all-terrain quads, dump trucks, and digging machinery. The ship's specialized crew and equipment make her best placed to open the port and clear the airport runway so more international aid, including relief arriving from the United States, can reach the island.

RFA Mounts Bay's Royal Navy helicopter crew also rescued three children and a British citizen who was trapped beneath rubble for several days after Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas. The Wildcat helicopter was flying over Great Abaco Island to assess damage when its crew were asked to evacuate a victim from Elbow Cay. The survivor was removed from the rubble and brought back to RFA Mounts Bay to be treated by the team of Royal Navy medics on board, then airlifted to Nassau. The Wildcat also evacuated a woman, her two children and a baby to Nassau. 

“The children were in a poorly condition and required immediate medical care. It was hugely rewarding to use my training and skills to provide essential and immediate life-saving care to this family," said medical officer Surgeon Lieutenant Rebecca Miles.

As in previous years, RFA Mounts Bay was on stand-by in the Caribbean in preparation for hurricane season. As well as the disaster relief team, the ship is carrying aid supplies, all-terrain quads, dump trucks, digging machinery and stores on board. Since Hurricane Dorian hit, a liaison officer from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and a UK Department for International Development humanitarian expert have been on board to help co-ordinate the relief efforts.