Navy

Navy Delivers Aid To Caribbean Island After Volcanic Eruptions

RFA Wave Knight offloaded 135 pallets of emergency aid in St Vincent, which was badly affected by volcanic eruptions in April.

The Royal Navy has delivered 75 tonnes of crucial aid to citizens of St Vincent following volcanic eruptions early this year.

RFA Wave Knight offloaded 135 pallets of emergency aid on the Caribbean Island, which has been badly affected by the unexpected eruptions of La Soufrière in April.

The support ship, which carries a Wildcat helicopter, disaster relief supplies and thousands of tonnes of fuel, collected aid from the people of Barbados and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Sailors and Royal Marines loaded toiletries, sanitary items, cleaning products, dried and tinned food, bottled water and other essential items before making the 100-mile journey from Barbados to Kingstown, St Vincent's capital.

The mission had added poignancy as more than 500 people from the island serve under the White Ensign and have been deeply affected by the eruptions.

Able Seaman Rickal Grant, a Royal Navy logistics expert serving with RFA Wave Knight, said he has children who "have been displaced by the eruption".

The aid, from both Barbados and the WHO, was delivered to Kingstown – St Vincent's capital (Picture: Royal Navy).

"The people displaced, including my family, will benefit from this humanitarian aid given by the people of Barbados," he said.

"I am happy to be a part of the ship's company delivering this aid."

The volcanic eruptions forced the northern half of St Vincent to be evacuated – displacing about 14,000 islanders.

The eruptions were the first major activity for 40 years and sent a thick layer of ash over buildings, with islanders seeking shelter away from the danger zone and in temporary camps.

Captain Simon Herbert RFA, RFA Wave Knight's Commanding Officer, said the ship's crew were keen to show the UK's commitment to the Caribbean and "alleviate the humanitarian threat caused by the volcano" in St Vincent.

RFA Wave Knight left Scotland a fortnight ago to join patrol ship HMS Medway – the Royal Navy's permanent presence in the Caribbean/North Atlantic.

The pair provide support to Britain's Overseas Territories in the region, as well as Commonwealth states, to deliver aid in the event of natural disasters.

Both ships also work with local authorities to prevent drug trafficking between South and North America.

Cover image: The Barbados Defence Force delivers aid to the jetty for loading on to RFA Wave Knight, which took the items to St Vincent (Picture: Royal Navy).