Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) — The 16,000 tonne Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ship Lyme Bay will arrive in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) this weekend to support the Islands’ hurricane season preparations (1-4 August 2015).

Amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay is on ‘hurricane watch’ from June until November 2015, ready to offer assistance to the UK’s six Overseas Territories in the Caribbean should a storm hit.

“Preparing thoroughly for natural disasters in this region is vital to each UK Overseas Territory’s safety, security and sustainability,” said TCI Governor Peter Beckingham.

“RFA Lyme Bay’s visit is a very clear demonstration of how the UK supports the people and governments of its Overseas Territories.”

Lyme Bay will spend the first two days of her visit in Grand Turk, where the crew will also get involved in a search and rescue exercise with officials from TCI’s Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME), as well as community projects and football and cricket matches against local sides.

She will then sail to Providenciales to survey where the UK’s hurricane support ships should best be positioned if a storm struck the TCI’s most populated island – the island’s reef prevents large ships berthing there.

Her Royal Marines and soldiers will further familiarise themselves with the TCI’s most populous island by working with DDME, the Police Marine Unit and Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs personnel based on Providenciales.

In addition to her crew of nearly 100 RFA sailors, the ship carries 23 Royal Navy sailors, 27 Royal Marines and Royal Engineers in a specialist disaster relief unit, plus 18 soldiers from the Royal Logistics Corps.

Bay Class ships, like Lyme Bay, are amphibious landings ships which can quickly offload troops and equipment in rough weather. The ship can also generate electricity and fresh drinking water after a storm.

The civilian-manned Royal Fleet Auxiliary delivers worldwide logistical and operational support for the wide range of tasks the Royal Navy undertakes including war fighting, counter-piracy, humanitarian and disaster relief, and counter-narcotics operations.