On 1st November 2013 HMS Lancaster visited the Dominican Republic, which forms part of the island of Hispaniola along with neighbouring Haiti.
Lancaster, one of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates, berthed at Sans Souci Port and as she entered the port she was in what the Royal Navy calls Procedure Alpha; where the ship’s company line the upper deck in their best uniform and the occasion was also be marked with a gun salute.
Key personnel from the ship met with officials from the Dominican Republic to discuss what capabilities the ship can offer whilst in the region. There also was an official reception on board where people learned what LANCASTER can offer in both terms of counter narcotic operations and humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Whilst alongside, Lancaster’s football team played the Dominican U20 national football team who are currently ranked 78 in the FIFA rankings.
HMS Lancaster’s Commanding Officer, Commander Steve Moorhouse, said: “My ship’s company and I are looked forward to our visit to the Dominican Republic as part of our current deployment in the Caribbean. This was a great opportunity to meet our counterparts in the Dominican Armed Forces and build stronger relationships and ties with them.”
Lancaster, which is now in her last few months of her Caribbean deployment, has already visited all six of the British Overseas Territories in the region and taken part in the multinational exercise UNITAS with 8 other navies. In between her counter narcotics patrols she is visiting numerous Commonwealth and Caribbean countries in order to conduct regional defence engagement. These visits provide the opportunity to train with other navies as well as demonstrate the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region.
Counter narcotic operations with partner nations are one of a range of tasks Lancaster is conducting across the Caribbean in support of British interests. Others include providing reassurance and security for British Overseas Territories and the provision of humanitarian aid and disaster relief during the core hurricane season.