The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Bay-class auxiliary landing ship dock (LSD(A)), RFA Mounts Bay (L3008) has returned to the UK after her three-year Caribbean deployment.
The ship received a warm welcome as she arrived in Portland, Dorset. She has been away for more than 1,000 days – over half of them at sea – having clocked up nearly 90,000 miles and visited 32 different ports.
The ship first arrived in the Caribbean region in the autumn of 2017 as part of Operation Ruman, the UK’s military response to the devastation wrought by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
During a 33-day period, Mounts Bay and her team of sailors, soldiers and airmen from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), Royal Navy, Royal Marines and British Army’s Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) was responsible for providing life-saving aid and support to thousands.
The start of September 2019 again witnessed Mounts Bay teams being called upon to provide essential Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) at Grand Bahama following the destruction left by hurricane Dorian.
The Category 5 hurricane ripped through the islands with winds of 185mph, the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. Mounts Bay delivered and distributed more than 200 tonnes of water, food, medical supplies, shelter kits and hygiene kits to the worst affected areas of Great and Little Abaco islands.
During six days, personnel from 24 Commando Royal Engineers cleared 70km of roads to help isolated communities receive aid. Her last success in the theatre was a £40 million drug bust with the US Coast Guard at the beginning of February – is now making her way back across the Atlantic for the first time since 2017.
Commanding Officer, Captain Kevin Rimell RFA, said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to have been the Commanding Officer of Mounts Bay over the last few months of her deployment to the Caribbean.
“The impact she has had on the region over the last three years has been immense, from the hurricane relief efforts of 2017 and 2019 to the significant drugs interdiction in 2020.”
He added: “I know Mounts Bay will be sorely missed by many. The many varied personnel from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Logistics Corps who have embarked over the period have displayed true professionalism, compassion and hard work in everything they have been asked to do, ably assisted by our counterparts in the US Coastguard – this has been a truly joint effort.
“However, the UKs enduring presence in support of the UKOT in the region will continue with the arrival of the very capable HMS Medway and, later in the year, RFAs Argus and Tiderace.”
RFA Mounts Bay was unloading stores at Portland before heading for Falmouth for a planned refit.