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Royal Navy hospital ship heads to Caribbean to provide Covid-19 support

Photo: Royal Navy

By Ben Mitchell, PA

A Royal Navy hospital support ship has set sail for the Caribbean to help the British Overseas Territories cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

RFA Argus, a 100-bed primary casualty receiving ship, left Devonport to assist with the region’s response to the outbreak, as well as the upcoming hurricane season.

Defence minister Jeremy Quinn said: “The deployment of this ship is just one way the UK Government is supporting communities at home and overseas, as together we face the biggest public health emergency in a generation.”

A Navy spokesman said the ship was carrying Royal Marines as well as Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) sailors and aviators from 815 Naval Air Squadron and 845 Naval Air Squadron.

He added: “A medical team could later join Argus in the Caribbean to support the UK Government’s contribution to responding to Covid-19 in Overseas Territories.”

“Argus carries on board stores equipped to react as the hurricane season approaches, including provisions of water and ration packs from the Department for International Development.”

“She is also equipped with materials to repair damage and clear blocked roads in support of local emergency services.”

Commanding officer Captain Terence Barke said: “RFA Argus’s ship’s company, consisting of both Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Navy personnel, will rise to this challenge.”

“We understand that there are people in need in the UK Overseas Territories who require our support.”