BRITISH NAVAL SHIP VISITS FOR INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATIONS
A British Naval Support Ship will be in Grenada from 5 to 8 February 2014 for a three day visit to join in Grenada’s 40th Independence celebrations.
Scheduled to berth at Port St George, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) WAVE KNIGHT is a 31,500 tonne Fleet Replenishment Tanker which is currently operating as part of the Atlantic Patrol Task (North). This is part of the UK’s year round commitment to the region in support of Overseas Territories, Disaster Relief, Counter Narcotics Operations and Defence Engagement. Recent success in Counter Narcotics Operations while working closely with the US Coast Guard has been widely publicised in US and UK media.
During the visit, officers from the ship will participate in the Independence Parade while the Commanding Officer will host a formal reception onboard and pay a return visit to the Dorothy Hopkin Centre, where the ship’s company helped with decorating, carpentry and electrical work last year.
The Commanding Officer of RFA WAVE KNIGHT, Captain Duncan Lamb RFA, said, “following our call in September last year, we are all very much looking forward to the visit. There are strong ties between the UK and Grenada and we look forward to renewing old acquaintances and making new ones”. Captain Lamb added “it is a privilege to be visiting during the Independence Day celebrations.”
RFA WAVE KNIGHT carries Humanitarian and Disaster Relief stores, including those supplied by the UK Department for International Development. Prior to deployment the ship’s company of WAVE KNIGHT completed a training package which tested and developed the ship’s company’s ability to plan and deliver support to relief operations.
“Whilst the small and focused crew of RFA Wave Knight provides valuable flexibility and capability in the Caribbean, we also remain on short notice to support any crisis across the world. This takes commitment, training and versatility to achieve” said Captain Lamb.
RFA WAVE KNIGHT has the ability to refuel and resupply other naval vessels at sea whilst operating helicopters from its large aviation facility. It is armed with Vulcan PHALANX Gatling guns and self-defence weapons and decoys.
RFA Wave Knight (A389) is a Wave-class Fast Fleet Tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She was launched in 2000 and accepted into service in 2003. She is the second ship to bear this name in RFA Service. Wave Knight and her sister, RFA Wave Ruler, replaced the elderly Olna and Olwen, 36, 000 ton fast fleet tankers built at Swan Hunter and Hawthorn Leslie respectively in the 1960s.
The ship is crewed by 77 Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel and supported by 3 Royal Naval personnel for weapons systems operations. It currently has embarked an 11-strong US Law Enforcement team for counter-narcotic work.
A statement from the British Embassy in Barbados said that RFA Wave Knight is able to operate in support of amphibious forces, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations and protection of vital sea areas and shipping.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) 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.
Founded in 1905, the modern RFA is an essential element of the how the Royal Navy operates with freedom around the globe and is fully integrated into frontline groups of warships at sea and naval headquarters ashore.
The RFA supports a wide spectrum of operations from high tempo upthreat war-fighting to counter-piracy, disaster relief, counter-narcotics, law enforcement and evacuation operations