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Published: 05 Apr 2020

RFA Argus has set sail for the Caribbean in preparation to support the British Overseas Territories during the upcoming hurricane season and will be able to assist with the response to the Covid-19 pandemic if required.

RFA Argus’ deployment to the Caribbean had been scheduled for the hurricane season, but she will now be able to play a part in ensuring the UK Government is ready to support the Overseas Territories during the pandemic..

As Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines continue to stand ready to assist the United Kingdom in its efforts to defeat the pandemic at home, the support ship left Devonport today to cross the Atlantic and head south for the Caribbean.

The ship’s commanding officer Captain Terence Barke said: “RFA Argus’ ship’s company, consisting of both Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Navy personnel, will rise to this challenge. We understand that there are people in need in the UK Overseas Territories who require our support.”

Minister of State for Defence Jeremy Quinn, responsible for the Overseas Territories, said: “The Armed Forces are taking decisive and coordinated action both at home and overseas to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. The Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have worked hard to ensure that RFA Argus is ready for the hurricane season in the Caribbean and now also able to support the UK’s Overseas Territories during the pandemic.

“The deployment of this ship is just one way the UK Government is supporting communities at home and overseas as together we face the biggest public health emergency in a generation.”

On board RFA Argus as she departs are Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Navy sailors and aviators from 815 Naval Air Squadron, 845 Naval Air Squadron and 1700 Naval Air Squadron.

A medical team could later join Argus in the Caribbean to support the UK Government’s contribution to responding to Covid-19 in Overseas Territories.

Argus carries on board stores equipped to react as the hurricane season approaches, including provisions of water and ration packs from the Department for International Development.

She is also equipped with materials to repair damage and clear blocked roads in support of local emergency services.


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