RFA Argus, one of the Royal Navy Caribbean task force ships arrived in the Cayman Islands area on Monday 4 May. RFA Argus is the replacement ship for RFA Mounts Bay, which for the past three years carried out hurricane relief exercises on Seven Mile Beach and supported the region after a number of hurricanes hit including Maria, Irma and Dorian.
This year, due to the Covid-19 situation the crew will not be setting foot on the Islands, or receiving visitors on the ship.
Embarked on the vessel are three Merlin Helicopters and one Wildcat helicopter. Today they flew two helicopters on a recce of Grand Cayman and on a drugs interdiction exercise with the RCIPS Marine Unit vessels.
The RCIPS helicopter met the Navy helicopters airborne and conducted a familiarisation over the radio in loose formation. They looked for key areas and landing sites (no landings were made) in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season and the usual general brief of the Islands.
Argus’ task is distinct from the mission of the Security Assistance Team (SAT) that recently arrived from the UK. The SAT are here to assist the Cayman Islands Government to plan and to mitigate against any security issues caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The team are already engaging with local officials through virtual meetings while in quarantine.
The vessel also has Disaster Relief stores on board, as well as Royal Engineers and other specialist personnel who can help with repairing and restoring vital services. As standard procedure, the ship will remain in the region during hurricane season as vital support if needed.