In this guest article, Justin Hedges outlines the case for a British humanitarian aid ship and his company’s solution that is available to fulfil this role.
RFA Argus sailed from Plymouth this afternoon on a long-planned deployment to the Caribbean. Equipped with a 100-bed medical facility she may be called upon to assist British Overseas Territories dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. French, and possibly Dutch vessels are also being sent to the region to support their territories. Co-ordination between the naval forces is likely but this is not a formal joint, EU or NATO operation.
Supporting British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean is a permanent commitment for the Royal Navy which has maintained a presence in the region in various forms for centuries. Here we look at how the modern navy deploys its limited resources to fulfil this task.
Back in 2014, we published an article suggesting that a small portion of the generous overseas aid budget be used to construct and operate a British hospital ship. The idea received a very positive response and after some work behind the scenes, now has the support of Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development. Here we take a more nuanced and updated look at some of the options and benefits of the proposal.
There has been considerable criticism of the UK’s response to provide aid to the British territories in the Caribbean after being hit by the most severe hurricane in a generation. This is entirely unfair. Naval assets were already pre-positioned in the region for just such an eventuality and are now part of a considerable tri-service effort by the UK armed forces and other agencies.More
Britain’s £13 billion annual international aid budget is extremely controversial and re-directing this money often cited as a way of solving the defence funding crisis. Theresa May recently said she remains committed to the current level of spending on aid. There is a strong moral, economic and security case for Official Development Assistance (ODA) and humanitarian aid but there is little doubt we should be allocating the funds more intelligently. The armed forces are key enablers for aid delivery and disaster response – a portion of the generous DFID budget should be re-directed to finance more ships, aircraft and personnel.
In a state of civil war and with no clear government to police its borders, migrants can pass easily through Libya to its coast where people traffickers promise to get them into Europe. Migrants have been attempting to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy boats for many years but numbers are rising sharply, More
The size of the Britain’s £11Bn overseas aid budget is becoming increasingly controversial at a time when we are cutting defence spending and trying to reduce national debt. There are good reasons for wealthier nations to help the poorest in the world but whether these hand-outs create lasting peace and prosperity is questionable. There is however, a clear moral imperative when natural disasters occur to assist our fellow man struggling for their very survival. This important and frequently required humanitarian aid mission is often forgotten in political discussions around the size and shape of the navy.More