Support Ship To Royal Navy Home From Hurricane Watch
10:08am 17th December 2012
RFA Argus tied up at in the Port of Portland, Weymouth, last night (Thursday) having left Falmouth in May from Atlantic Patrol Task (North) deployment.
The commanding officer of RFA Argus, Captain Gerry Patterson, said: “Argus, as a team, is a hybrid crew which melds the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Royal Navy into one unit under my command.
“RFA Argus deployed as the singleton UK naval unit on Atlantic Patrol Task (North) and, with the amalgam of units onboard, has operated as commander of a task group. This ship has been through the third busiest hurricane season in recorded history and has stood ready to assist the Island nations of the Caribbean particularly the UK Overseas Territories in recovery from Hurricane strikes.
“In addition RFA Argus has engaged in counter-narcotics operations, disrupting supplies of illegal substances to the US and Europe. We are proud of our achievements but nevertheless glad to be back to our families and loved ones in time for the festive season.”
The first six weeks saw the ship representing the UK during the United State’s 1812 bicentenary celebrations; a celebrating United States becoming independent. For four weeks joined a procession of sail Norfolk, Baltimore and Boston becoming the first time in history an RFA ship delivered a gun salute on entering a port. First Sea
Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, visited RFA Argus with the United States Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathon Greenert, in Baltimore.
RFA ARGUS headed south to the Caribbean for the UK’s year-round commitment to the region in support of potential humanitarian aid and disaster relief including hurricanes, floods and volcanic eruptions.
RFA Argus spent six months patrolling the region, ready to respond to any emergency. However, the islands were able to deal with the impact of Tropical Sandy without requiring assistance from Argus, although 200 shelter kits were delivered to needy communities following the passage of Storm Sandy to assist in the rebuild process.
RFA ARGUS made several port calls to islands such as Montserrat, in the region to provide training and planning assistance in how best to respond to natural disasters.
The visits coincided with national independence celebrations and provided the crew with an opportunity to march in several parades, again showcasing Great Britain’s continued presence and commitment to the region.
RFA Argus also embarked a US Coastguard law enforcement detachment, to help patrolling the central and southern Caribbean. This joint operation, including US, Dutch and British ships, was successful in disrupting the trafficking of illegal narcotics through to the US and Europe.
After 7.5 months deployment the crew is due a well-earned break and the ship will enter a short refit period before returning to sea in the middle of 2013. The ship will resume its role as the UK’s primary casualty receiving ship, ready on short-notice to embark a full team of medical specialists and sail to any potential hot spot in the world.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary service is a flotilla of 13 naval support ships delivering afloat support to UK and Allied Armed Forces around the world. Owned by the Ministry of Defence, it is manned by British civilian sailors who are trained to Merchant Navy Standards prior to undertaking the military training required to operate alongside the Royal Navy. Underway replenishment at sea of fuel, stores and ammunition.