British military personnel have been practising how to react to a humanitarian crisis by testing their response skills during an exercise in Cyprus.
During the exercise, Royal Navy flagship HMS Albion served as the hub for Royal Marines commandos, landing craft and helicopters, while those involved carried out simulated rescues of civilians.
The amphibious assault ship was joined by a specialist team of military personnel, known as the Joint Forces Headquarters, often the first Brits on the ground in the aftermath of an emergency.
The exercise involved a fictitious scenario where personnel needed to plan support for a country in the middle of a crisis.
During two weeks, the UK’s amphibious task force, the Littoral Response Group, carried out nine exercises ranging from using more traditional naval power to the latest technology, with a view to developing the Future Commando Force.
This time, HMS Albion took part in a scenario that saw her evacuate embassy personnel in the face of growing disorder ashore.
The team used the ship’s planning suites to organise the effort and her landing craft and Wildcat helicopters to pull civilians out.
Royal Marines provided protection and drones were used, in a first, to monitor the shore, feeding images directly to the assault ship to help the team direct efforts on the ground.
Commander Rory West, who led the exercise, said: "After 18 months in the HQ with operations under my belt that include the Bahamas and evacuations from Wuhan and Cuba, this is the first opportunity that I have had to lead a team on board a warship.
"This is the first time the headquarters have been able to exercise the ability to conduct an evacuation operation from sea in over five years.
"With full support from the sailors and marines on board, it has been a pleasure to be able to contribute to the experimental nature of the deployment."
Cover image: Royal Marines practise crowd control amid mock civil unrest in Cyprus (Picture: Royal Navy).