Royal Navy Sailors Find Themselves Chasing Monkeys 

monkey aboard Royal Navy vessel
RFA Wave Knight had a "monkey problem" arriving at Grand Turk (RN file photo)

Published Dec 21, 2021 6:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

[Brief]   No one would ever accuse Great Britain’s Royal Navy of “monkeying around,” but according to U.K. tabloids, a ship of the fleet had a monkey problem to sort out recently. It might have been just a sea shanty if the Royal Navy had not released a photo and replied to inquiries telling the media, “We take our responsibility to wildlife seriously and try to help.”

The story reportedly began in Barbados, where the RFA Wave Night, a fast fleet tanker that supplies vessels with essential supplies around the world, made a brief port call. The vessel is currently on deployment as part of the Atlantic Patrol working in the Caribbean to provide aid and support other ships on the mission.

After departing Barbados, the crew reported spotting a green monkey dashing about their ship. They believed the primate had come aboard as a stowaway in Barbados. The animal was spotted running about the outer decks and at one point high atop the bridge. It was also discovered that the monkey was carrying a child around with it on the vessel.

Officials on Grand Turk Island, an island in the Turks and Caicos, however, learned that the monkey was aboard the vessel. They informed the ship, which was due to make a stop in their port, that it would not be permitted to arrive for “biological safety reasons.” 



The British tabloid, The Sun, which first reported the incident, said that is when the problems began. The tabloid reported, “It all went wrong when the crew was trying to trap,” the monkey. “It was really bad.” By all accounts, the sailors were given a net to capture the animal and were chasing it all about the outer decks as it dashed from point to point outwitting them. 

When the animal finally seemed to be cornered, it dove over the side of the ship to the water some 80 feet below while holding its child. Last seen, the sailors reported, the monkey was doing the doggie paddle to shore after its stowaway voyage.

When the sailors of the RFA Wave Knight are not chasing a monkey, they provided aid earlier this year both to St. Vincent after its devastating volcanic eruption and to Haiti after the earthquake in August. As part of the task force working with the U.S. Coast Guard and another mission with the Dutch Royal Navy, they also recently assisted in the capture of millions of dollars of cocaine, one of several drug seizures by the task force on their current deployment.  The U.S. Coast Guard reported earlier this month that the RFA Wave Knight crew seized about 1,200 pounds of cocaine. Following the three interdictions, they reported that nine suspected drug smugglers from the Dominican Republic and Columbia were apprehended.