The second of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new Tide-class support ships, RFA Tiderace, has arrived in Cornwall to begin a programme of customisation that will support 300 UK jobs. Like her sister ship RFA Tidespring, which arrived in April this year, the 39,000-tonne RFA Tiderace can carry up to 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water in support of Royal Navy operations all over the world. She has been designed to support the new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, the first of which, HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Portsmouth last month. Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: This year of the Royal Navy goes from strength to strength as we welcome yet another new ship into the UK’s growing fleet.
In the early hours of the morning, the Royal Navy vessel launched her Wildcat helicopter to search for a ship reported missing off the south east coast of the island of Vieques. The team of UK personnel spotted an upturned hull along with some debris and a life raft in the surf. Three people then clambered up onto the up turned hull and waved for assistance, which was spotted by a US Coastguard C130 aircraft. The Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter was then tasked to rescue the three people. They were transported safely to RFA Mounts Bay where they were treated for minor injuries. Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay, Captain Steve Norris, said: My ship and crew demonstrated exceptional teamwork today to save these lives, and I am immensely grateful to them all for their efforts in this operation. It is with regret that we understand that a fourth individual at the scene is missing, presumed dead. Our thoughts go out to their family at this difficult time. Currently engaged in the UK government response to the devastation left behind by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, RFA Mounts Bay continues to deliver emergency relief to affected islands. Pre-positioned in the region, she provided initial assistance to Anguilla to clear the runway and helped fix basic infrastructure and provide shelter to people in the British Virgin Islands. A specialist FCO team is on the ground to provide assistance to the individuals involved.