RFA Lyme Bay home after successful Atlantic patrol

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship has returned home after successfully patrolling the Atlantic, visiting 16 nations, helping with two disaster relief operations, and stopping $53million of cocaine reaching the street.

RFA Lyme Bay sailed into Falmouth at the weekend having completed a six month patrol of the North Altantic and Caribbean islands.

In addition to the 16,000 tonne landing ships core company were embarked Royal Navy and Royal Marines, along with Army Commandos and a 20 man strong Royal Navy Lynx helicopter flight.

Over the course of her deployment Lyme Bay visited 11 Caribbean islands representing the UK Government, she engaged in training serials and hosted humanitarian and disaster relief management facilities.

These training facilities were put to the test when Lyme Bay provided support to the islands of Dominica and the Bahamas after they were struck by tropical storms.

Lyme Bay worked tirelessly during this period delivering aid and assistance to cut off communities, evacuating people, helping rebuild and restore where possible.

I am delighted to be home in time for Christmas and wish everyone who has taken part in this deployment a very Merry Christmas.

Captain Kim Watts, RFA

The Royal Navy Lynx helicopter was also put to good use assisting local police forces in finding illegal marijuana plantations, charcoal production sites, illegal fishing activities, and criminal hideouts.

These flights led directly to half a dozen seizures and arrests.

The ship also worked closely with the US Coastguard to seek out and stop vessels suspected of smuggling drugs.

A US Coastguard spokesman said of the effort: “Lyme Bay’s patrols prevented 2,500kg of cocaine from reaching our shores and nearly $53 million dollars of illicit revenue which will never be used to fund instability, violence or corruption.”

Sailing into Falmouth at the end of a busy deployment Captain Kim Watts, Commanding Officer of RFA Lyme Bay, said he was immensely proud of the work undertaken by his ships company and the embarked forces.

“Every member of the ship’s company is very proud of what we have achieved,” he added.

“Everyone is understandably glad to have played a part in contributing to the humanitarian activities during these past six months and to reviving, and building, new relations with nations across the Caribbean on behalf of the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom. 

"I am delighted to be home in time for Christmas and wish everyone who has taken part in this deployment a very Merry Christmas.”