News story

RFA Argus deploys to Sierra Leone

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship began her journey to Sierra Leone today as part of the UK’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The first of 3 Merlin Mk2 helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron touches down on RFA Argus [Picture: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Carl Osmond, Crown copyright]

The first of 3 Merlin Mk2 helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron touches down on RFA Argus

RFA Argus sailed from Falmouth this morning with Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), Royal Navy personnel and Royal Marines, along with 3 Merlin helicopters, aircrew and engineers from 820 Naval Air Squadron.

On arrival RFA Argus will play a vital role in transporting medical teams and equipment as well as assisting experts deployed to help tackle the Ebola epidemic. The deployment is expected to last up to 6 months.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon visited RFA Argus, an aviation support ship, earlier in the week to emphasise the leading role which the UK has taken in tackling the crisis in Sierra Leone.

RFA Argus leaves Falmouth
RFA Argus leaves Falmouth heading for Sierra Leone [Picture: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Paul A'Barrow, Crown copyright]

Michael Fallon said:

The UK is leading the international fight against Ebola. The deployment of RFA Argus is absolutely key to that effort – not only to help save lives in Sierra Leone but also to help keep Britain safe from this terrible disease.

I saw for myself when I visited Falmouth on Tuesday the deeply impressive preparations which RFA Argus’s crew have made to tackle the wide range of demanding challenges which they will have to overcome.

It gives me great pride to thank the crew for their outstanding work and wish them a safe voyage.

By the end of October, defence’s total contribution to tackle Ebola in Sierra Leone will amount to 750 personnel and the UK’s treatment centres will provide direct medical care for up to 8,800 Ebola patients over 6 months.

RFA Argus joins the fight against Ebola (infographic)
Published 17 October 2014