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LATEST: Cornish Ebola Mission

news - merlin1

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 10:24am 13th November 2014

Cornish air crews deliver emergency supplies in the ebola zone.

Three Culdrose helicopters have flown more than fifty hours as part of Operation Gritrock to reach remote areas.

The Merlins have also been scoping out landing sites and transporting medics across Sierra Leone.

"The UK has made clear its commitment to fighting and containing Ebola and the deployment of Argus is just one element in this campaign," said Captain David Eagles, Commanding Officer of RFA Argus. "Our primary role is to deliver transportation and logistical support for the medical teams and experts working in Sierra Leone - a role we began upon arrival. Embarked in Argus are men and women drawn from across the Armed Forces, many of whom are experts in their field. All have undergone stringent counter Ebola training and after just one week we are already seeing the benefits of deploying such a capable vessel and crew."

 

ebola

RFA Argus arrived on 30 October carrying nearly 400 personnel.

Eighty of these are members of 820 Naval Air Squadron, based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.

Since arriving they have been tasked across Sierra Leone, carrying out reconnaissance of potential landing sites, transporting UK military personnel and training with the Sierra Leonean Army.

Commander Ross Spooner, Commanding Officer 820 NAS said, "We conducted daily flight training on the way to Sierra Leone and arrived ready for operations. We have so far carried out tasking, transporting stores and UK military personnel to remote locations as well as training ambulance personnel to load stretchers into the Merlin's. We also had the privilege of flying the Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma earlier in the week and in this way he was able to spread a message of reassurance to several towns across the country."

Also carrying out an important role are the Royal Marines embarked with two Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP), two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats and three Zodiacs.

Argus is playing a logistical role but also a medical role assisting in the care of the more than 800 British Armed Forces personnel deployed in Sierra Leone, as well as entitled UK Government personnel.

RFA Argus has sufficient stores onboard to remain at sea for several months and is also able to produce her own fresh water.

As yet, we do not know how long crews will be deployed for.

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