The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) support ship returned to Portland, Dorset, yesterday morning having left for operations in February 2010.
The ship’s primary role has been to undertake the Atlantic Patrol Task (North) around the Caribbean, supporting UK Overseas Territories and underlining Britain’s commitment in the region.
This role included carrying vital supplies and stores to small territories hit by natural disasters like hurricanes. With a wide range of disaster relief materials, Wave Ruler was able to provide food, water and shelter where required.
Her crew would also offer medical and humanitarian aid, together with technical assistance using their training, skills, knowledge and experience.
In August this year, Wave Ruler was tasked to head to the Turks and Caicos Islands after Hurricane Irene had passed through the Caribbean.
RFA Wave Ruler’s Commanding Officer, Captain Bob Allan, said:
I am delighted to be able to bring Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Ruler home to the UK. This has been an extremely successful deployment to the South Atlantic and Caribbean region. The ship has maintained a presence representing the British Government in the Caribbean, and forged close links with the UK Overseas Territories disaster relief organisations.
Wave Ruler carried humanitarian aid and disaster relief stores and equipment throughout her time abroad, plus a Royal Navy specialist detachment that could be called upon in the event of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Irene. Additionally, Wave Ruler contributed to regional law and order enforcement.
The ship’s crew provided disaster relief help at the request of the Governor of Grand Turk. The ship’s Royal Navy Lynx helicopter conducted reconnaissance of the islands and then disaster relief stores were delivered to outlying islands by the ship’s crew.
The RFA crew was enhanced with a 20-man Royal Naval humanitarian and disaster relief team, together with the Lynx helicopter and 13 personnel from 815 Naval Air Squadron, based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset.
When not on regional visits to overseas territories Wave Ruler was tasked to work for the Joint Interagency Task Force South in the area on counter-narcotics operations. This involved working in support of local defence and police forces, from a host of Caribbean nations, together with the United States Coast Guard and the Dutch Navy, to tackle drug-trafficking from South America to the Caribbean, USA and Europe.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet, owned by the MOD, which supports Royal Navy ships around the world, supplying warships with fuel, ammunition and supplies. The RFA fleet is fully integrated into the Royal Navy’s command and control system and forms a vital part of maritime operations.