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Scenes of the devastation caused by Hurricane Joaquin
RFA Lyme Bay’s LYNX helicopter delivering aid
MASF personnel on the flight deck of RFA Lyme Bay
Lyme Bay’s LYNX helicopter picking up crucial humanitarian aid supplies ready to deliver ashore
MASF’s Naval Airman Hill raises the spirits of local children whilst delivering Bahamas Disaster


Published: 25 Nov 2015

Whilst parts of the United Kingdom are dealing with the aftermath of ‘Storm Barney’, sailors from a Cornish Air Station have been providing disaster relief during the main hurricane season in the Caribbean.  In particular, they have providing help in the wake of a 130mph storm in the Bahamas.


Seven aviation personnel from the Maritime Aviation Support Force (MASF), who are normally based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, are currently on a lengthy deployment onboard Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship (RFA) Lyme Bay.  The Ship has recently been restoring vital services in theBahamasafter some the island chain was devastated by Hurricane Joaquin.


Sailors, soldiers, Royal Marines and airmen all weighed into a relief effort on tinyCrookedIsland– 250 miles from the Bahamian capitalNassau– after homes were flattened, power lines brought down, water supplies severed and communities cut off by Hurricane Joaquin.


Amphibious support shipLymeBay, broke off her patrols looking for drug traffickers in the Caribbean and, packed with emergency supplies and a specialist disaster relief team who’ve already helped out after mudslides caused havoc inDominica, headed for theBahamas.  They carried out evacuations toNassau, delivered supplies and waters and fixed wrecked houses.  Prime Minister David Cameron has praised the team onboardLymeBayfor their “tireless efforts” to help people hit by storms across theAmericas.


The team of medical, engineering and logistics personnel were sent by MASF to helpRFALymeBayto carry out its aviation activities.  Having aircraft onboard gives a ship a multi role capability, enabling the ‘Command Team’ to interrogate suspect vessels at range, gather intelligence and provide rapid first aid disaster relief.


The Commanding Officer of MASF, Lieutenant Commander Chris Roberts said: “The support MASF provides has already been put to the test, withRFALymeBayrecently providing critical aid to theBahamaspopulation following the devastating Hurricane Joaquin.  MASF personnel provided a key role in maintaining flight operations in a hot and challenging environment, whilst the embarked medical team delivered life saving support to the local population who suffered injuries as a result of the disaster.”


Back at home in Helston, MASF continues to provide tailored manning solutions to Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, delivering personnel at short notice across the globe.


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