RFA Largs Bay Haiti Relief Mission
From Paul Daunton
Samlesbury Memorial Hall Trustee & Senior Officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary on RFA Largs Bay assisting in the relief effort in Haiti.
24th March 2010
We have just rounded the Azores and are heading properly North now, and up through Biscay over the next few days – as usual the weather forecast isn’t good. We should be in Marchwood by Monday – amidst a lot of media attention by all accounts, although I’m not sure if that is National or just local?
The “race for Haiti” challenge raised around £2500 including Gift Aid on the website and then we had a donation of around £8000 from the shipyard in Liverpool, so it was all very worth while. Please thank everyone for their support.
5th March 2010
Since we arrived in Haiti on the 19th February we have discharged all the cargo that was brought out from the UK. This was mainly vehicles and various containers of building materials and we used the ships Mexe raft (a large self propelled raft), to discharge it all onto a beach in Port Au Prince. We then had to sail again for a day to go out and do a RAS (Replenishment at Sea), to load fuel from an American tanker before coming back into Port Au Prince to load a cargo of rice and food rations on behalf of the World Food Programme.
This took about 3 days to complete, as it all had to be hand loaded from the beach onto the Mexe raft before being brought out to the ship at anchor, although we did manage to load about 1000 Tonnes of food in that time. We then took this to a small town 70 miles up the coast called Gonaives and did the whole thing in reverse to land it ashore. It was a worthwhile job though as we got enough food delivered to feed the town for well over a month and the same job would have taken over 300 trucks (which they don’t have), much longer to move the same amount.
We are now back in Port Au Prince doing the same thing all over again, but this time it is for a small town on the southern peninsula which has been cut off by mud slides and so using the ship is the only way to get such a quantity of food delivered.
We are due to start the passage back to the UK about mid March, so there might be time to do one smaller delivery somewhere else first, but it all depends on how fast we can load and discharge this cargo of food rations. The trip back should take about 14 days and I am looking forward to reaching Southampton again after basically 8 weeks at sea!
“Race the ship to Haiti” challenge
We are doing a “race the ship to Haiti” challenge, where the crew, which includes our embarked forces, are trying to cycle, run and row the distance from the UK to Haiti and get there before the ship does! As of today (12 February) we are about 400 Km ahead of the ship, which is partly due to all the bad weather we have been experiencing but mainly due to the long hours that some of the Marines spend in the Gym – they think nothing of doing 100Km a day on the cycling machines!
As for me I am attempting to complete 100Km before we arrive as my contribution and have done 51 so far – I was determined to get past half way yesterday, but need today off to recuperate!
If anyone would like to make a charity donation towards our efforts – everything will go to the Disaster Emergency Committee who are managing all UK aid to Haiti – then we have set up a route through the charity website “Just Giving” – http://www.justgiving.com/LargsBayracetoHaiti
From the link it is very easy to make a donation and if you are a Tax payer then the charity gets extra money from the Inland Revenue!
Please pass this on to any family or friends that you may feel might be interested – we are able to track how much has been donated through our super fast internet access (128K per second) – what’s Broadband then?
We should arrive on station around the 18th Feb and once the cargo has been discharged in Port Au Prince, they are hoping to use the ship and the embarked mexe raft to ferry supplies around the island to the more inaccessible parts for the World food Programme, which will be a worthwhile use of the ships capabilities.
If you want to know more then please e-mail me and I’ll try and answer any questions.
RFA Largs Bay Blog
The ship is also doing a daily blog on what we are up to, etc, which you can view at: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/operations-and-support/royal-fleet-auxiliary/rfa-flotilla/bay-class-landing-ships/rfa-largs-bay/unit-diary/.
RFA Largs Bay Haiti Relief Mission
More information on RFA Largs Bay Haiti Relief Mission