Royal Navy ship to visit Grand Cayman

| 03/10/2014

Cayman News Service(CNS): Royal Navy Warship HMS Argyll, which made a USD$33.5 million drugs bust in the Caribbean this summer, will be visiting Grand Cayman Sunday through Wendesay (5-8 October) to strengthen relations and conduct hurricane and disaster relief planning. HMS Argyll’s Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Hammond, said, “I am delighted to bring HMS Argyll to the Cayman Islands to reassure with our presence and to continue our strong relationship with local authorities.” In August the Argyll seized nearly 600 kilos of cocaine (left) with a UK street value of £21 million after a 12-hour pursuit across an unspecified area of the Caribbean.

According to a Royal Navy report, after receiving information that a suspicious-looking vessel had been spotted by a Maritime Patrol Aircraft, HMS Argyll, which is on counter-narcotic operations in the region, deployed to intercept it.

Once she closed on the boat, the ship launched her onboard Lynx helicopter to confirm it was acting in a way typical of drug smugglers, before sending her sea boats across to capture the crew and contraband.

Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois said at the time, “The Royal Navy has a hard-earned record of tackling illegal drugs smuggling and we should be extremely proud that HMS Argyll has been involved in a dramatic and very successful operation to disrupt the supply. The operations showed tenacity and professionalism.”

Commander Hammond said, “My team and I knew that a swift and correct interception was required in this case. We worked well with our international partners to give ourselves the best chance of success and I used the exceptional capabilities of a modern warship, including sea boats and the Lynx helicopter, to detain the crew and seize the drugs from the target vessel.”

Once onboard the small power boat, known as ago-fast, the US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) and Royal Navy sailors discovered bales of cocaine wrapped in bin bags. Also on board HMS Argyll were elite Royal Marine Maritime Snipers from Faslane-based 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group.

Caynman News Service

Five people also found on board were detained in HMS Argyll and handed over to US justice on Friday 22 August.

While in the Caribbean the Royal Navy works with a LEDET team from the US Coastguard which embark on their ships for counter-narcotic operations.

This work is part of Operation Martillo, a 15-nation collaborative effort to deny trans-national criminal organisations air and maritime access to the littoral regions of Central America, and focus on putting a stop to the illegal movement of drugs from South America to the western world.

HMS Argyll has deployed to the Caribbean region to provide reassurance and, if required, humanitarian aid and disaster relief support to the UK’s British Overseas Territories and other islands during the hurricane season.

The Type 23 frigate continues to conduct counter narcotics patrols in conjunction with the US Coast Guard and other partner nations to enhance regional security and deter illicit activity.

During her time in Grand Cayman, HMS Argyll will host a Hurricane and Disaster Relief seminar as well as hosting local dignitaries and other groups.  Her crew will be seen ashore working on local community projects and during sporting events including a rugby match.

"I look forward to working closely with the governor and the government to ensure a successful and productive visit," said Commander Hammond, who will pay a courtesy call on Her Excellency the Governor Helen Kilpatrick and other Government dignitaries on Monday. Governor Kilpatrick will later host the Captain and crew fora farewell reception on Tuesday 7 December.

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  1. Ivan No regrets says:

    For all you loyal colonials on here blaming others for mother failing to assist Cayman when she was in dire need of help That would explain why they were apologizing after for their lack of assistance and their lame duck governor who flew off to be in comfort on board HMS No Help Cayman. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Try to be a little gracious 

    • Anonymous says:

      After the way they refused to help with security after Ivan and I was looted, why?

      • Cheese face says:

        They refused? Or our government sent them away? "Nothing to see here"

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes. They refused. “how would it read in the UK press if one of our marines shot someone” was the response given by an officer confronted with the desperate security situation, and asked why the marines were not ashore.

          • Anonymous says:

            I would have thought that they are subject to the laws of the Cayman Islands, being a military (or navy) force they have no jurisdiction, they would just be guys on the streets with (illegal) guns. Law enforcement in any country is limited to the local police force, as harsh as that sounds to stand by when all hell was breaking loose. 

            Without an agreement in place before Ivan kicked off, that the UK could send armed troops into Cayman to take over security I don't think they had any choice, it would probably have been viewed as an invasion.

            • Anonymous says:

              Wrong. There was a state of emergency and had full authority according to Cayman Law.

              • Anonymous says:

                And that was obvious to everyone involved?  Maybe they need to have a chat now, find out what is expected of them in a state of emergency, rather than making an assumption on either side that full military assistance is wanted, authorised and legal. 

                • Anonymous says:

                  Yes. It was obvous to everyone involved. It is called the Emergency Powers Law, signed off on by the FCO – or are you saying we should consult them on the laws they have drafted and asked us to implement so they know what they say even after the FCO appointed Governor has declared an emergency using that same law?

            • Anonymous says:

              Last time I checked the Cayman Islands are part of the UK and the British Navy or Armed Forces can land in Cayman anytime or anywhre they so choose to do so when we are in a State of Emergency.

          • Anonymous says:

            They were sent away by a certain politician.

            • Anonymous says:

              After they refused to assist with desperately needed security and could offer only blankets and water purification tablets.

        • Anonymous says:

          Certain local politicians would not have wanted to be held accountable for their looting of the relief supplies to gain political favour, that is why they were sent away.

        • Anonymous says:

          Mac refused there help, him alone as the Leader of Government Business.

        • Anonymous says:

          OK, before we throw any more rocks, let's know what we are talking about What aid was offered, and what was refused? When you have those answers, maybe you will have a valid opinion.

      • Anonymous says:

        That was 'Lucky' McBush that refused help.

      • Anonymous says:

        A certain politician put financial service secrecy before getting help for people in need.  It is quite an interesting story.  I could tell you, but then I would need an invisible and secret armed guard.

  3. Ivan survivor says:

    With our 10 year Hurricane  Ivan anniversary just in September, now they are planning disaster relief??? We could have used some of that here after Hurricane  Ivan some here would do well to remember. If it weren't for Derek Haines asserting some level of Law & order and "presence" on these streets i afraid this place and many would not have survived the aftermath.

    • Spike says:

      To acknowledge the support of Derek in the hurricane please support him in turn in his million dollar marathon quest, where to date he has raised over $700,000. He is a shining example of the huge efforts made by residents in charitable causes. Very few countries raise as much money for charitable causes as Cayman does. Givers, take a bow.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good luck guys. You unfortunately have a tough PR battle given the last decade's treatment. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please stay as long as you like!