Iron Duke practices security & emergency exercises

| 13/07/2009

(CNS): The Royal Navy warship, HMS Iron Duke, which came to Cayman Brac immediately following Hurricane Gustav last year to offer humanitarian assistance, returned to the Cayman Islands to go through both security exercises at sea and disaster relief exercises on shore. According to Weapon Engineer Officer aboard the HMS Iron Duke, Lt Cdr RN Martin Hoather, exercise “Viking Thistle II”, a maritime security exercise between HMS Iron Duke and the RCIPS Marine Unit, tookplace on the morning of 8 July. Another exercise, “Webbed Feet”, which took place on Cayman Brac on Thursday 9 July, was an opportunity for the ship to practice elements of its disaster relief plans. (Photos by Ship’s Photographer, LA Stuart Hill)

He said the ship arrived off the coast of Grand Cayman on 7 July. “Some of the Ship’s company got ashore for a few hours in the afternoon, whilst the CO went ashore and made official calls on the Governor, the Chief Secretary, the Commissioner of Police, the Head of the Police Marine Unit and the Director of Hazardous Management. We hosted a visit from several youth groups in the afternoon, then in the evening held an official reception for about 85 guests from Grand Cayman,” Hoather reported.

Exercise “Webbed Feet” on Cayman Brac was an opportunity for the ship’s crew to practice elements of its disaster relief plans. During the exercise, the ship established a headquarters and communications point at the Aston Rutty Centre, proving both the ship’s own communications and the ability to use the Island’s emergency communications to talk to the ship’s teams, Hoather said.

“Teams were landed by boat at West End and Spot Bay from where they carried out a planned reconnaissance, proving communications and familiarising themselves with the local area. A heavy engineering team landed at West End and carried out engineering work using welding and cutting gear. The ship’s command was given a tour of the island by the district commissioner, increasing our understanding of the Island’s impressive disaster relief arrangements.

“The exercise was a great success and very worthwhile. The ship was able to practice key aspects of our disaster relief organisation whilst improving our understanding of Cayman Brac’s own disaster relief plans and is very grateful to District Commissioner Ernie Scott and all those on the Island who helped make the exercise possible,” Hoather concluded.


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  1. Mike T Barrel says:



    Dear Against Stupid Blogs,

    "Unfortunately, the Cayman Islands being a British Overseas territory, does not have the power to stop the UK navy, Airforce, special forces nor Burkas from landing and taking up station if they want. Get your facts straight next time and stop wasting proverbial ink."

    Glasshouses, stones, take care when throwing. 

    Do tell us more about the threat of invading Burkas.  I am losing sleep over hordes of traditional Arab womenswearwalking the streets of George Town.  Does Juliana know? Should we be taking steps to protect ourselves?  Maybe this would call for the Gurkhas. . .

    Maybe you should stop wasting proverbial ink.


  2. Caymanians against stupid blogs says:

    Dear Target,

    Do not be stupid…the Cayman Government does not have any control over what the British Government nor its Navy does in Cayman…Our constitution says it does not.

    You have gotten your facts wrong about that situation. The Navy landed and “secured” the Governor. What I understand was that the Governor and local government asked for the ships crew to come onshore but be under the existing Governors emergency powers and to report to him however the British Captain refused to relinquish command of his officers on shore—as their captain he had the right to make that decision. Anyway his men complained they were tired after assisting Grenada the week before and so the ship left after confirming that the Governor was in no harm nor mutiny occurring. Before leaving they did assist the Governor and Council with a helicopter reconnaissance around the island.

    The UK did send the Cayman Islands some bottle water on the BA flight a few weeks later and coordinated the deliver of tarpaulins from the US AID relief so they did something actually.

    Unfortunately, the Cayman Islands being a British Overseas territory, does not have the power to stop the UK navy, Airforce, special forces nor Burkas from landing and taking up station if they want. Get your facts straight next time and stop wasting proverbial ink.

    • target says:

      Ok, ‘caymanians against stupid blogs’ I can’t resist this…

      Firstly, it’s called the Royal Navy, not the UK Navy.

      Secondly, ‘Air Force’ is two words, not one, and it’s actually called  the ‘Royal Air Force’

      Thirdly, I think you’re a little confused between Burkas, and Gurkas…

      A burka is a dress made from felt or karakul (the short curly fur of young lambs of the breed of that name). Karakul being quite expensive, burkas were usually sewn from felt treated to look like karakul. Burkas are sewn with high, squared off shoulders, and wearers will have a distinctive high-shouldered silhouette.

      If you want to dress in the short and curlies of a lamb, knock yourself out..

      The Brigade of Gurkhas is the collective term for units of the current British Army (no ‘Royal’, hmm, curious) that are composed of Nepalese soldiers.

      BUT, the Gurkas would fit right in here with the RCIPS, because they take no prisoners either…

      So, you may want to find yourself another cause, apart from ‘caymanians against stupid blogs’ unless you’re a mole… hmm, could be.

      There is some colonial remnants in Caymanabsolutely, but you may be better off looking forward, rather than back, because forwards is the way the world is heading.

      And no, before you ask, I’m not English, I’m from Scotland.


  3. Two-Cents Worth says:

    You’re both mistaken. 

    A British military ship was diverted here after Ivan but was initially unable to dock due to port damage and rough seas.  A helicopter was used to transport military personnel to shore.  They offered what assistance they could but, as one of them told me, "you need security and we’re not authorized to offer security".  The small force did what they could, sent a report (complete with images) on the situation in Cayman to the "home office" and then left to meet their previous assignment.  At the time they left, there was really nothing more they could do.

    No assistance was refused.

    Given that within days, the runway was clear enough for planes to land and major recovery operations to begin, there was no real need to have another military ship make its way to Cayman.

    Since Ivan, I believe it has been the UK’s policy to have a military ship standing by in the region prepared and authorized to provide assistance and relief should a hurricane strike.  These ships visit Cayman periodically.  I believe one was just here.



  4. Anonymous says:

    Jolly good show chaps! What ho! Hopefully you and the UK will do better than the last pathetic, disgracefully minor assistance after Ivan, only months after the Compass had a lead article explaining how Britain would be there to see us triumphantly through our problems. What a sad joke-but well in keeping with Gordon Brown’s attitude to us.

    • Target says:

      Is that the same hurricane Ivan when the Cayman government of the day refused docking access to the British Navy for 18 days and refused all assistance?

      ‘Disgracefully minor assistance’? Oh, so you DO need the UK then? Thanks for clearing that up. We thought you had some ‘live off the sand’ master plan under your tilted baseball caps…


      • Anonymous says:

        To Target:

        Apparently it can’t be the same Hurricane Ivan. They all came on onshore lickity split and asked for a place to stay!! I joke not.They made it clear to those of ustrying to cope that they were unwell (to be fair, they took a battering in Grenada) and would be ordered out by "London" very quickly "to serve needs elsewhere".

        CIG did NOT refuse their efforts to help nor did it refuse all assistance-as you would know if you spent time at the Customs receiving area where we received a HUGE amount of help-though not from Britain, of course.

        But then maybe you had "relocated…….."

        Your last paragraph is inarticulate.

        Pip Pip.