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Iqbal Ahmed

Disaster relief is probably the most high profile and relevant activity that brings the attention of the public and renews the bonds between the services and the public. So good to see the navy prepared with pre deployed ships.
To be fair, criticism of the UK response (not just the MOD but DfID etc) comes both from members of the Conservative and Labour parties. They are not happy that HMS Ocean is being deployed 2 weeks late and lack of heavy lifting equipment on HMS Mounts Bay. There is also the question of permanent basing of troops in the region. The UK effort has been compared unfavourably to those of France and the Netherlands.
Theresa May urged to explain lacklustre Hurricane Irma response
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/08/uk-response-to-hurricane-irma-was-swift-says-no-10

sisyphus

“There is also the question of permanent basing of troops in the region.” …. Your comment did make me laugh, would that be a ‘colonial’ type armed presence so loathed by the revisionist chattering mob, who spend an unhealthy amount of their day condemning Britain’s past … would you also be increasing the budget to allow for the extra manpower this would require and pay for the bases, of course not…
If you read the very measured articles on this forum and others like the Thin Pinstriped Line, you would understand the UK response has been as good as can be expected, thanks to our Armed Services.
What it does highlight, yet again, as this is not the first or last time a HADR response has been needed, is that a lot of resources are required to meet such an event, and that only the Armed Forces are in a position to deliver such effect. Perhaps the politicians will take this into consideration when they are about to sell HMS Ocean for scrap… but then we live in a society full of reactionaries such as you…

Iqbal Ahmed

Do you even know what reactionary and progressive means in political terms?
Let me clue you in, harking back to Imperial nostalgia when the RN was the largest/second largest navy in the world and continually moaning about resources allocated by political consensus is reactionary. Especially in comparison to other more deserving areas of expenditure.
I’m sure that if we didn’t purchase (or bought fewer) offensive weapons systems such as carriers, Trident and attack submarines then we could afford to keep at least battalion sized forces and disaster relief orientated ships and equipment in reserve to assist around the globe. That’s hardly colonial if its with the consent of the locals. We could also properly patrol our terrotorial waters and defend our resources, like fish, with more specialised patrol boats.

Paul

How is the nuclear deterrent an offensive weapon? It’s whole existence is there to prevent an attack on the UK by another nation state.

sisyphus

I was in no way ‘harking back to imperial nostalgia’, on the contrary, I was asking you how you proposed to answer the question, that you posed,, ‘of permanent basing of troops in the region’, ANY answer you might come up to solve that one, would involve quite a bit of ‘harking’ …
It is always interesting to read comments such as yours, wise after the fact, full of questions, but never solutions, and moving definitions to suite your flawed arguments… keep up the good work as your type has almost ruined this country.

Silent Majority

Correct. He’s also doing a sterling job of spoiling this site and distracting the readership from the actual content.
Just remember, the content may change with this guy but the negativity is always the same. Always toxic, damed if we do damned if we don’t. Is he one of Putin’s PR minions?

David Stephen

No. He is just a tool.

David Co

I stopped reading when he quoted the Guardian, no one can take defence seriously if they read that prejudiced drivel.

Iqbal Ahmed

I had to laugh at that.
The related articles section of this article has a piece from the Guardian as well as right wing papers.
So take up your Guardianaphobia with the management of this site.

Chris Jones

“It is always interesting to read comments such as yours, wise after the fact, full of questions, but never solutions, and moving definitions to suite your flawed arguments…”
Quite so, it’s the Owen Jones (of Guardian fame) school of thought. Jump up and down wailing that every solution put forward isn’t good enough, without being able to put forward a solution of his own while demanding that SOMEONE do SOMETHING and then criticising the response.

David Stephen

I am sure you would prefer to throw the money away on NHS boob jobs and putting up foreign versions of street names but please try to understand that defence is one of governments basic duties. You and Lilly Allen may not be able to recognize this but others can. You are very confused as well, you talk of removing weapons systems from service (taking a back seat in world affairs) but in the same sentence suggest deploying battalions of troops abroad? Why would the military want to pre position disaster relief equipment anyway? Never mind manpower. Disaster relief is not their primary role, war fighting is and carriers and subs contribute to that whilst your fanciful ideas do not. It sounds like you want to turn the navy in to your own version of thunderbirds and you want to cut fighting power to do it. So the aid budget is not enough for you eh?

jon livesey

“Do you even know what reactionary and progressive means in political terms? ”
If I *cared*, I would join the SWP, not read a military blog.

ProudByName

Ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary have the prefix of ‘RFA’ – not HMS.

NotInTheNavy

lack of heavy lifting equipment on HMS Mounts Bay.
RFA Mounts Bay. NOT HMS. RFA. We are not in the Navy. It’s a civilian manned vessel that has been out there for weeks preparing for this very situation, and currently doing the job the RN, RM, Army and RAF are all getting credit for (while we get none, as per). It’s bad enough the media refuse to acknowledge the existence of the RFA, but for the general readership on a website called ‘save the royal navy’?

Dern

Don’t get upset, most of us know the difference between the RFA and RN. Mr Ahmed is just a moron and possibly a ISIS sympathizer trying to undermine the United Kingdom.

Iqbal Ahmed

And what makes you think I’m an ISIS sympathiser? Is it because I have a Muslim sounding name? Play the ball and not the man.
Unlike most of you, I actually use my name because I have nothing to hide. This post is just more proof that this site panders to the far right.
I didn’t realise that saying we shouldn’t spend more money we don’t have on military equipment was ‘undermining the UK’. My position seems to be the position of government and the opposition parties.
It’s the commentators on this site that are out of touch.

Dern

Because you make a habit of consistently bad mouthing our nation and our armed forces. You are so happy to accuse others of extremism but the moment someone turns around and uses your own slander against you its shock and act like a victim.
Yes. I think you are an enemy of the state at heart. Not because of your name, but because of your consistently anti-british posts. You want us off the world scene, you’ve consistently made that clear. Granted I might be wrong, you might not be an Isis sympathizer and just being paid by the Kremlin.
Do us a favour and piss off until you at least know the difference between RFA and HMS

NotInTheNavy

It’s not just that. Look at the complete lack of coverage RFA Mounts Bay has got for the outstanding work she’s done so far. Barely a mention on this site and as far as the media is concerned, she either doesn’t exist or is an RN ship.

Chris Jones

??? Much of this article features the fine work RFA Mounts Bay is doing. I do agree that the RFA often doesn’t get the coverage it deserves but whining about it on a site that strongly supports the work of the both the RFA and RN is a bit misplaced.

Harry Nelson

So HMS DIAMOND is relieving HMS OCEAN as SNMG2 flagship! Who is covering DIAMOND’s 9 month Armilla commitment?? Show’s the woeful state of the FF/DD numbers

Cunningham

The only thing unfair from the criticism is the lack of people differentiating from the military and government responses, which have been different entirely.
The UKAF have once again reacted as quickly as possible working around the clock and genuinely making a difference. This is what you have explained in some detail but to be fair Jack, I don’t think anyone had a problem with the men and women doing the job over there, so unfortunately this is just another fallonesque deflection from the governments lackluster response using the UKAF as their proof they have done enough. You’re just contributing to the government myth that “our boys, ready for anything, moments notice” when in reality they are under-manned, under-equipped and at the mercy of the governments incompetence.
You could be asking why the Americans, French and Dutch had their plans made a couple of days before the Hurricane hit.
You could be asking why it took a whole day for an official response from the government while the French and dutch made theirs early in the morning.
You could be asking why the French and Dutch currently have over a 1000 people on the islands while we have half that number, most of that was already on the island. The argument about population size is a silly one, I suppose Sir Humphrey is advocating a smaller military than France and Germany seen as they have a larger population size then?
You could be arguing about funding, why haven’t our overseas territories in the Caribbean got search and rescue capability, larger hospitals, or even a small military garrison. There are so many ways you could look at this and ask yourself could we be doing more beforehand to help us best react to disasters like this.
You’re writing for Save The Royal Navy and you’re doing it a massive disservice by saying everything is top of the pops, why are you not asking why we have not got a ship on APTS for the first time since the Falklands War, that could of been there quicker, a lot quicker than HMS Ocean, you’ve not even mentioned her retirement next year with no replacement, or why we have just a Dock Landing ship doing APTN, an LPD doing counter narcotics patrols and maritime security is a joke, it should be a proper OPV or even better a Frigate with an LPD and Argus for disaster relief in hurricane season. Instead you and Sir Humphrey have used every single angle possible to defend the government, even the laughable “where would we evacuate them to” while a few sentences before defending the time it’s taking for Oceans arrival he uses “the worlds a big place!” well yes I suppose it is Sir, maybe there is somewhere to evacuate them to then!
What you have also done, quite shamefully as is the case with the pin stripped blog, is take into account every single bit of evidence except the people actually going through the loss and devastation on the island, all the media and politicians are doing is responding to the criticism first coming from the residents on the islands, just last night I watched a devastated women on Channel 4 news talking about the looting that’s going on and the lack of a proper British presence “if this was the British mainland it would not be happening and more would be getting done, that is not the case here” one island had none of our men on and it looked like a warzone.
But I suppose because “Every credible independent defence source is saying the same” everything is alright. This is not some media hissy fit, nor an anti-tory conspiracy, it’s the response to the anger from the people who live on the islands, maybe you and Sir Humphrey want to watch and listen to what they are saying and then respond to them, because they are the only people that matter, not the media or politicians.

Cunningham

Yes I know it has, I have been reading the site for years and get Jacks new posts direct to my inbox, you have done amazing work.
“it is totally unrealistic to expect the UK to have multiple ships and thousands of troops permanently stationed in the Caribbean”
Nobody said thousands, a hundred would be a start, it’s a British overseas territory with near 100k population and not one single British military presence, that is what is unrealistic. Atlantic Patrol Tasking North is primarily for counter narcotics, an LPD is not suited for that role (it does the job yes but it’s not built for that) like I said it should be an OPV or a frigate and then during hurricane season forward deploy an LPD and Argus. And then where is our Atlantic Patrol Tasking South ship? is that unrealistic now? I’m struggling to comprehend why you think all that is unrealistic, it should be the basic requirement, those are our standing patrols for goodness sake.
If our standing patrols were fully met like they should be, we should currently have on the scene, 2 frigates, an LPD and Argus, with Ocean on it’s way, 4 helicopters instead of one, and a load more men on the ground. And that is just from our standing patrols that you have been fighting for, yet now all of a sudden seen as the conservative government in the firing line you are defending the lack of numbers, it’s just not making any sense at all.

Sir humphrey

The key difference between UK and NL/FR is that both their territories occupy a small slice of land, and have a much bigger population (e.g. 300/850k respectively). Their mil occupy an internal security role which UK mil would not be employed in.
The UK islands have tiny populations (4500 – 30,000) so are essentially the size of a large village or small town at home. This makes maintenance of services very difficult. They face next to no security risk, and have historically, even at the height of empire, never required a garrison force. We have to be sensible about what we put and where. Sticking garrisons on tiny islands with less than 5000 people resident is a total waste of time and money and sticking scarce assets where they are not required.
What the UK did for its specific situation was entirely appropriate – it sent a large ship with helo, plant and specialists and had it ready to provide hurricane relief as required. This was a capability that neither FR or NL possessed locally, although people seem to gloss over that fact.
You also assume that the lack of public action equals a lack of private planning – just because the Govt isnt running round publicly screaming PANIC doesnt mean stuff isn’t being done. Its just that they JFDI not play to the emotions of the media.
A frigate is brilliant for somethings – it is not optimal for disaster relief in many ways – hence the Bay going out there. The problem is that people dont want rational analysis of the UK response – they want to see action NOW, they want to moan about lack of action and they don’t want to accept that the UK has a specific set of circumstances which mean its response will be different from other countries.
The UK is cracking on and has flooded the area now with the right kit to solve the problems we know we have got NOW. Sending them a week ago could have been futile as they could easily have been destroyed in the hurricane – just look at the photos of some of the islands to understand how badly many airstrips were hit. Had they arrived they’d have not been able to be supported due to the lack of supply chains due to the airports probably being closed.
Its all well and good going ‘do something’ but it helps if you know what it is you have to do, rather than just throwing stuff at a problem and hoping it helps.
The big difference between UK and FR/NL response is that we are flooding the area NOW with good equipment for a multi-month recovery effort, which is whats needed. We’re not relying on a poorly equipped infantry force to do a limited job. The FR and NL are already asking for our help and airlift ability, and recognise that the UK is leading the way here.
Only in the UK could the fantasyfleetistas be so blind to reality in their hellbent desire to do the UK down and insist that our world beating reaction is crap.

Cunningham

You seem to be consistently forgetting who the main benefactors of having troops stationed there are, and that’s the islanders themselves, maybe our military should have an internal security role, or maybe a small garrison during hurricane season, nothing should be ruled out and I don’t really have all the answers, but the people living on the islands were not happy, that’s why questions are being asked.
A population of 30,000? it’s actually 50,000 and that’s just the islands in question, not far away is Bermuda 65k Montserrat 9k and the Cayman islands 45k, the total population of the British Caribbean is around 150,000. Bermuda had a garrison force since the very start of our Empire and only left after WW2.
I don’t think capability has really been mentioned, not by me anyway, the response from Mounts Bay was superb and the ship itself was entirely appropriate, but was it appropriate for the whole situation, no it was not otherwise nothing more would be getting sent in would it.
So I suppose we are both making assumptions then, you assume they were planning in private, I assume they were not, I actually think they thought Mounts Bay would be enough so did not do one single bit of planning until after the hurricane hit.
A frigate is brilliant for some things, like dropping off a small number of men to help with security and distribute aid, using the ship and its Helicopter as a visual reassurance to the devastated population.
The problem is people don’t want to talk about what could and should of been done beforehand and are just focusing on the response, which I think got off to a slow start but is now superb, try to listen to the points i am trying to make and respond to them. Nobody is talking about throwing a load of ships in beforehand, I am talking about standing patrols that are not being met. Nobody here or elsewhere can say that the response would not of been quicker and in greater number if APTN and South were met properly by the right ship.
One of the biggest problems facing the British Virgin Islands at the minute is social unrest and widespread looting, so I suppose a light infantry force could do a bit of a job wouldn’t you say.
Are you seriously saying that having a frigate each for them patrols and then forward basing an LPD and possibly Argus during hurricane season is ” fantasyfleetistas” what a really pathetic thing to say from someone who is too scared to ask genuine questions and put British people, who’s lives have been devastated and turned upside down, put their concerns ahead of your own, not even that, you have still, even in this reply not even mentioned them, or is it a case of them being so far away perhaps they’re not British enough for you.

David Stephen

Well said Sir.

David Stephen

You said in the same sentence that we have no ship on APTN, then ask why only an LSD on ATPN. A frigate is a waste of resources as far as disaster relief goes the LSD is actually the best platform for the situation. Why a permanent presence when hurricane season is only six months of the year? Are you seriously suggesting that we could or should evacuate the 100 000 citizens from the overseas territories?

Cunningham

First of all, read what I wrote again and you will find you’re mistaken.
I never suggested a Frigate be there for disaster relief, I said a frigate should be the West Indies guard ship or Atlantic Patrol Tasking North as it’s now known. I think you will find a proper warship is best suited for that role, seen as counter narcotics and maritime security are the things it will be doing most. You could then supplement that with an LPD during hurricane season. Also if a warship was present in the South Atlantic like there has been since the end of the falklands war that would of been a lot closer and probably could of been there before the hurricane hit waiting to respond. I’m struggling massively to understand how quite a lot of people are not getting this.
A 100,000 people did not need evacuating but no I don’t think it would be possible in any case in such a short space of time. But if our standing patrols were met and we had 3 or 4 helicopters available in the 4 or 5 days we knew it was going to be the worst recorded hurricane in history, there could of been an option to evacuate women and children from the worst affected islands or perhaps a large number of them. Although that really wasn’t one of the main points of my argument.

David Stephen

Ok, I see what you mean but I still think a frigate or destroyer is a wasted resource doing ATPN. A proper warship is not needed for anti piracy and drug interdiction. Maybe a Type 31 with RHIBs and a Wildcat when they come along but we don’t have enough combat power to ensure a constant high end escort presence in both the north and south Atlantic. Those are both low threat environments and sending expensive weapons and sensors platforms is a waste. I think we already do what you suggest most of the time which is why the LSD was in the area. Having an escort available on scene a few days earlier wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

Cunningham

How is a Frigate doing that patrol a wasted resource, what else should they be doing other than our standing patrols. It’s weird at any other time of the year most people on here and other sites complain that we are using a dock landing ship as a patrol vessel, it doesn’t even have sophisticated radar it is not a patrol ship.
Mounts Bay being there during hurricane season obviously makes perfect sense and was the right move, all I have been saying is that if our standing patrols were met efficiently then the response would of been better, because Mounts Bay was clearly not enough to cope with the amount of destruction this hurricane has caused, that’s why Ocean was immediately redeployed to he area.
A type 31 obviously when they come would be perfect for most of our standing patrols in low risk areas.
A few people keep saying that, an extra helicopter wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but I disagree massively, there were two islands majorly affected and we had one helicopter working around the clock trying to support both areas affected.
There are two things that are happening here, either people are mistakenly thinking that the actual Royal Navies response itself is being criticised and are passionately defending it, or their political persuasion is clouding their judgment so they are defending the government.
I defy anyone to say that we could not have put ourselves in a better position beforehand to better deal with it.
Also the complete ignorance of where the criticism first came from, from the author of this and other people online is annoying, they are blaming the media and a few politicians, but the first criticism came from the people living on the islands plain and simple, the facts are there. Thousands of people affected did not see any British Uniform for hours and hours, well into the day, and they were upset about it and felt let down and complained to the media, that’s how this first started it.
So why in the face of that evidence people are still trying to say that Mounts Bay being pre positioned was enough, or all we could do.
The fact is we knew it was the worst recorded hurricane ever 5 or 6 days before it hit and did nothing extra.
And I see how Sir Humphrey and others have not mentioned how the French are being highly criticised at home as well. That blows how whole “only in the uk” could this happen totally out of the water.
And sorry one more thing then I’m going to leave this subject I’ve said enough.
Not only do we have 150k British citizens living in the Caribbean with no permanent military presence, there are 8 or 9 Commonwealth realms with our Queen as of head of state, that goes into the millions. The Carribean is important for us it always has been.

David Stephen

No one said it wasn’t important. A frigate is a wasted resource on APTN as it won’t need to use any of its expensive weapons or sensors. If most people complain that an LSD is there and not an escort they are wrong. The LSD is better for the Task. Ok it has no sophisticated radar but does that mean we should have the LSD and a frigate on ATPN, now that is a stretch. Chasing pirates and smugglers is not the best use of high end assets. If you are complaining that we don’t have enough hulls then I agree but we can’t crew any more at present anyway. The navy can and should help with disaster relief and anti piracy but it’s not the priority. Also note that we have responded by sending Ocean, not an escort as it would be a poor use of that ship. Maybe we should gift the River batch 1s to the Caribbean Territory’s and have some RN personnel embedded over there to train and lead the crews.

Cunningham

“The UK islands have tiny populations (4500 – 30,000) so are essentially the size of a large village or small town at home. This makes maintenance of services very difficult. They face next to no security risk, and have historically, even at the height of empire, never required a garrison force. We have to be sensible about what we put and where. Sticking garrisons on tiny islands with less than 5000 people resident is a total waste of time and money and sticking scarce assets where they are not required.”
That’s Sir Humphrey with his factually incorrect paragraph, that sounds like he thinks they are pretty unimportant to me.
David what do you suggest we use then for our standing patrols?
APTN, APTS, Atalanta, Kiopion, what ship currently in the Royal Navy do you think is best for these tasks? And do you think whatever ship is doing them will be using its expensive weapons?
Remember David that a Type 23 or Type 45 have always historically up until very recently been the ships undertaking APTN and South. This is not a new idea by me, this is what’s usually always been the case.
This is the first time since the Falkands we haven’t had a warship doing APTS.
Why would they send anything other than Ocean at this present time, I’ve never said they should send anything else. All I have said, and I still stand by it, is that if our standing patrols were met like they have been until a couple of years ago I think when we stopped sending a ship to APTS, we would of had more assests in the area that could of reacted much quicker, even been there with Mounts Bay.
They don’t have to be and LSD or LPD to have a reassuring presence to the people there, they have a very useful helicopter that would of been put to good use, medics and engineers who could of helped, men who could provide security, even an OPV would of been a help if it had a helicopter embarked.
This part of the point I was making all boils down to lack of hulls and funding, this should of been a pressing example of how not keeping our commitments met properly had hampered our reaction when we were needed. This site and a few others should be joining the politicians criticising, instead they are giving them a free ride here and it’s a shame.
I think the reaction would be very different if one of our ships were attacked, and there were no assets in the area covering our standing patrols that could react and assist.

Cunningham

Penultimate paragraph**
Instead they are giving the government a free ride and it’s a shame**

Cunningham

And the other main point, the government knew 5 days before that it was the worst hurricane on record, if they redeployed Ocean when they got that information it would of been there the day after.
The defence to this has been “we waited and assessed the damage” oh come on, what did they think was going to happen, it was the worst hurricane on record heading straight for us, Mounts Bay was never in a million years going to be enough. It needed a bit of logic and commitment from our government.
Instead we had Mounts Bay with one helicopter doing its best to assist two islands wrecked, the BVI are 90% destroyed.
The people there were unhappy and angry we never did more beforehand, that in itself is more than enough reason to look at it and question the governments reaction. But instead the criticism coming from the people there seem to be getting airbrushed out of this whole affair.
“Brilliantly deflated much of the whining about the UK ‘not doing enough’”
Seen as much of the “whining” is only getting done because the people there who went through the disaster were “whining” in first place this really is a deplorable line from Jack.

David Stephen

We might be talking past each other here. If you are saying that a Type 23 or 45 should be assigned to ATPN all the time then I disagree but if you mean that APTN should just always be covered (by an LSD or OPV) then I agree. I know that the tasking has traditionally been given to a high end fighting ship but that was because we didn’t have anything else suitable. ATPN should always be covered, just by an OPV or LSD or other low end hull. Some of the other tasks you mentioned particularly Kippion require a high end presence due to the threat level in the gulf. So would you rather a Type 45 was in the gulf or the Caribbean?

Iqbal Ahmed

Many of these Caribbean islands are tax havens like Virgin and Cayman Islands with wealthy tax dodgers resident. Who is doing the looting?
If it’s locals, them sending in our marines or soldiers may not be advisable. Local law enforcement would be better placed to deal with them; most people in these islands are probably on first name basis.

Silent Majority

More razor sharp insight.

Dern

God you are a boring odious little man aren’t you?

NotInTheNavy

The Marines and the Army aren’t being sent in to impose martial law or enforce civilian law. That’s what we’re sending police for. The RM/Army lot are there to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to British citizens. Distributing food and water, providing medical services, carrying out maintenance and repairs to local buildings and infrastructure, providing shelter for displaced persons… You know – GOOD THINGS. Things the military are equipped to carry out.

Don

With HMS Ocean due to retire and HMS Prince Of Wales fulfilling her role would it also make sense to increase the readiness status of HMS Bulwark and Albion so that one is not in mothballs for years.
If One Carrier was perhaps stationed in the Gulf or a South China sea tour .
The other possibly in for maintenance and perhaps one LPD on deployment with the other at high Readiness to respond to such a disaster.
If you could plan for
1 carrier operational
1 carrier high readiness
1 LPD operational
1 LPD maintenance
Then
1 carrier operational
1 carrier maintenance
1 LPD operational
1 LPD high readiness
This could give more flexibility to respond to emergencies.
Hopefully manpower issues will improve over time to allow for this.

Grubbie

It’s fair to question why some of these places need so much of our help. Many of these place are extremely wealthy even if the wealth is badly distributed. Much of this wealth has been acquired by pirating our tax receipts. It’s fairly obvious that many of the residents have put no thought whatsoever into ensuring that their roofs remain attached to the rest of their homes.
Also fairly obvious that Ocean is far more suited to this sort of mission than the new carriers.

David Graham

Agreed, Ocean is fine except for one factor, which is speed. The distance is circa 3,800 miles from Gibraltar, and Ocean has an SOA of 17 knots. Money was of course the deciding factor when she was built, however it is a great pity that she is so slow. Her predecessors as LPH, carrier based Bulwark and Albion were 27.5 knot ships, which meant fast passages [as required now] were made at 25 knots. should the UK ever get around to building another LPH, one hopes for a bit more forethought goes into the design.

Seafare

The US Navy was first on scene to offer assistance to the British Virgin Islands but were turned away by the British government. I guess the British didn’t want the Americans to take the publicity of helping before the Royal Navy could. It’s all about optics.

David Graham

Why should we be surprised. Better wait until HMS Ocean staggers along and arrives to save the day.
We should be ashamed of the time it takes our sole LPH to arrive, as indeed we should be ashamed of the cowardice of our leaders who cravenly submit to rules which state that we cannot use UK taxpayers money to help alleviate the distress of UK dependents in the Carib. Frankly, it’s a disgrace.

Seafare

@David Graham
I’m afraid you’re right.
It’s all about “optics”, as they say nowadays. UK gov would have looked bad if the US did the relief work before the RN could.