RFA Argus is in the Territory from Sunday, August 19 to Tuesday, August 21 in the course of her deployment to the Caribbean on the Royal Navy's Atlantic Patrol Tasking (North) - the UK's year round commitment to the region.
According to the Governor's Office, her main duties are to provide assurance and support to the UK's Overseas Territories, particularly in response to natural disasters and to maintain a presence in the area championing the UK Government's objectives and conducting counter narcotics trafficking patrols in conjunction with US and other international forces.
The RFA's Disaster Management team will take the opportunity to use its assets and expertise to conduct a number of joint exercises with BVI authorities, including the Fire and Rescue Department, the Marine Police Unit and the Department of Disaster Management.
According to the office, today, twenty volunteers from RFA Argus will be taking part in a community project on Gorda Peak, Virgin Gorda, spearheaded by the Rotary Club Sunrise. The project aims to enhance visitors' experience of the walking trails on the Territory's second highest peak by widening and leveling the trails, clearing away foliage and providing picnic tables.
During the RFA's visit to the BVI, Commanding Officer Gerard Patterson will meet with His Excellency the Governor Boyd McCleary, Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith, David Morris, Acting Commissioner of Police and Ms. Sharleen DaBreo, the Director of the Department of Disaster Management.
"Tasked with providing Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR), the crew of RFA ARGUS is augmented by a small team from the RN with niche technical training in HADR operations. In May, members of the ship's command team attended the 5th Annual Disaster Management Seminar in Miami, an opportunity to discuss all elements of the upcoming hurricane season with officials from various UK Overseas Territories," the Governor's Office stated.
In addition to remaining on high readiness to assist following any natural disaster in the region, RFA Argus will also be supporting the US coast guard in counter narcotic operations within the Caribbean, embarking a USCG Law Enforcement Detachment, detecting, distracting and disrupting illegal narcotics trafficking throughout the region.
She has recently completed a maintenance period in Freeport, Grand Bahama and refreshed her core skills with a short, staff covered training period to maintain her high state of operational readiness.
In May and June, RFA Argus visited several US ports in support of the War of 1812 Bicentenary celebrations. Following this, she has visited Bermuda where she relieved RFA Fort Rosalie and conducted the first installment of discussions and training with local Disaster Management organization and completed a three week maintenance period in Grand Bahama prior to sailing for Jamaica.
The Governor's Office stated that the ship remains poised to assist with disaster management, command and control with extensive emergency relief stores held on board.
"The ship can send ashore specialist manpower teams trained in engineering, medical and fire fighting with the primary aim of saving and preserving life. Teams also have the capability to provide shelter, sanitation, food and water. For the provision of logistical support ashore, the ship has a flight deck capable of operating multiple helicopters with a Lynx helicopter flight already embarked," the office stated.
Further, the Governor's Office stated that the deployment of RFA Argus to the Caribbean is part of the United Kingdom's continued commitment to the region and the UK Overseas Territories in particular.