RFA Lyme Bay wins title of ship of the year

Topic: Fighting armsRoyal Auxiliary Fleet

Drug busting and life-saving efforts by the men and women of RFA Lyme Bay earned their vessel the title of ‘ship of the year’.

The amphibious support ship – built to put Royal Marines and their equipment ashore – spent six months in the Caribbean, dividing her time between tackling drug-running and providing support to communities hit by natural disaster.

With the ship, normally based in Falmouth, in the region throughout hurricane season, she carried a specialist team of disaster relief experts – plus emergency supplies – in addition to her usual mix of sailors, Royal Marines and a Lynx helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron in Yeovilton.

Twice the disaster teams were called into action: first in the wake of Tropical Storm Erika which hit parts of Dominica, then in remote islands in the Bahamas after Tropical Storm Joaquin smashed its way through the region.

And in the war against illegal narcotics, the Lynx was used to scout for drug plantations – leading to arrests on the ground by local police – while the combination of the ship, helicopter and US Coast Guard ensued $53m of cocaine will never reach its intended market after intercepting traffickers.

“2015 was a busy year throughout for Lyme Bay and the key feature was the seamless integration of all that served onboard, be they RFA, RN, RM and Army personnel,” said Commanding Officer Captain Kim Watts.

“Captain Minter and myself were proud to celebrate our 40th year in the RFA Service - we joined up together – in command of Lyme Bay covering a wide spectrum of activities and support”

“The success of all of this work is as always not due to the platform alone but to the people that operate it,” said Commodore Duncan Lamb, Commodore RFA – head of the Service.

“The effort and professionalism of the commanding officers, officers and crew of Lyme Bay is to be applauded – they should be rightly proud of the accolade of RFA Ship of the Year.”

The success of all of this work is as always not due to the platform alone but to the people that operate it

Commodore Duncan Lamb