Royal Navy visiting for hurricane relief planning

| 10/06/2010

(CNS): Members of the British Royal Nay will be landing in the Cayman Islands next week when HMS Manchester visits Grand Cayman as part of the season’s hurricane preparations. Government officials said the crew will also be taking part in a number of meetings and activities during the ships stay. The visit is reportedly about strengthening relationships with Cayman Islands government agencies and to assist with plans for any joint hurricane disaster relief operations that may be required during the 2010 season which is expected to be one of the busiest on record.

From sporting events tours by local students and cadets, the crew face a full agenda and what is much more than a courtesy or rest-and-recreation call, Government Information Services said. As well as receptions on the ship and at Government House the crew will be playing as well as football, cricket and rugby matches against local teams.

The vessel which arrives 16 June for two daysl is part of the Royal Navy’s Fifth Destroyer Squadron. It has 26 officers and 216 crew, serving under Commander Rex J. Cox. The ship is currently on patrol in the Caribbean as part of the UK’s counter narcotics operations as well as hurricane relief.

The ship was also in the UK news headlines this week for other reasons as Raul Beia, and Dean Langley face trial at Portsmouth crown court this week over a drug smuggling operation in which £2 million of cocaine was allegedly smuggled on board by a wren serving on the ship. Teresa Matos is accused of picking up 8.51kg (19lb) of cocaine while HMS Manchester was docked at the port of Cartagena in Colombia, South America, last July, Portsmouth Crown Court heard. Beia is said to be one of the drug trafficking ring leaders while Matos was a courier and Langley was recruited to receive and distribute the drugs in the UK.

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