Navy

HMS Protector Delivers Aid Supplies To Bahamas

Around 70 of the ship's crew members spent up to eight hours offloading the aid.

HMS Protector has delivered vital aid to the Bahamas as relief efforts continue.

The 38 tonnes of supplies came in from Bermuda and were unloaded at the main Port on New Province Island.

Around 70 of the ship's crew members spent up to eight hours offloading the aid which will go straight to the Bahamian people, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian.

Some of the crew members had experienced first-hand what it is like to have their homes destroyed as a result of a hurricane.

Damian James, Petty Officer Marine Engineering, onboard HMS Protector, said he understood what many were going through after Hurricane Ivan ripped through his home Island of Grenada in 2004.

"I wanted to come out here around really push to help the people of the Bahamas.

"It means a lot to me to be here helping the people from this small island," he added.

HMS Protector delivered 38 tonnes of aid to the Bahamas.

HMS Protector was on her way to Antarctica when she got the call.

Captain Matthew Syrett, the ship's Commanding Officer, said: "We were in Bermuda when the Bermudan government asked us about any ability for us to help them.

"As an island nation they wanted to make donations from their island to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian and they were struggling to get vessels to take it down there."

"We had nothing in our holds and it seemed the best thing to do to put the two capabilities together," Capt Syrett added.

HMS Protector will now continue its journey to Antarctica.

HMS Protector tweet
HMS Protector will now continue its journey to Antarctica (Picture: HMS Protector/Twitter).

Capt Syrett's family home was destroyed in 2017 after a hurricane hit a British Virgin island.

"The scars both physical and mental of that are still a trouble today - we shouldn't underestimate the psychological impact of what's happened here," he said.

His step-mother was also injured as a result of the hurricane.

The supplies include food, water and clothing.

On 5 September, RFA Mounts Bay was first on the scene to deliver water, shelter kits and medical care, as well as evacuating casualties with her Wildcat helicopter on the Abaco Islands.

RFA Mounts Bay has since left the Bahamas after delivering all of her supplies, following the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Operation Liaison and Reconnaissance Team Leader, Commander Rory West, said there is still a risk of another hurricane, therefore RFA Mounts Bay needs to get into position.

He said “it’s important” RFA Mounts Bay gets restocked “as quickly as possible”:

“Now that she has landed all of those stores, and there is still a risk of hurricanes in the Caribbean, it is vitally important that we get her restocked as quickly as possible and position her again down to the south.”

Commander West added it was to “make sure she could provide further aid if it becomes required”.

RfA Mounts Bay relief efforts in Bahamas Credit MOD 12.09.19
RFA Mounts Bay was first on the scene in the Bahamas (Picture: MOD).

Cdr West said data shows that 10 September is the most common date for a hurricane in the Bahamas.

“Although the highest risk of the hurricane is on September 10, statistically, the hurricane season runs from August to the end of October.

“In that period the Joint Force Headquarters is on high readiness with other units from UK defence to be deployed as quickly as possible,” he added.

Over the last two years, he said the Joint Force Headquarters has deployed to the region on 7 September and this year on 5 September.

He added that he hopes, if there is another hurricane, to be position before it strikes.