Colombia: HMS Dauntless Hosts Key Summit


HMS Dauntless Hosts Key Summit

HMS Dauntless served as the setting for inaugural annual defence talks between Britain and Colombia when she visited Cartagena. The new Type 45 destroyer once again served as a floating venue for events promoting the best of British on the latest leg of her Auriga 12 deployment to the North and South Atlantic.

On her first visit to Colombia, £1bn destroyer HMS Dauntless provided the impressively steely setting for defence talks between the two nations.

After patrols of the North and South Atlantic, the Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer has spent the past couple of weeks in the warmer waters of the Caribbean: first Barbados and now Cartagena, Colombia’s historic northern port city.

There recently-appointed Minister for International Security Strategy, Dr Andrew Murrison, held the first annual Anglo-Colombian strategic defence summit with his opposite number from the South American state.

D33 also served as the venue for the second of the ‘Defence Security Industry’ days the ship has hosted while deployed (the first was in Lagos, Nigeria), a floating showcase for UK firms and trade.

So while many of the ship’s company were off enjoying the sights and sounds of the ancient walled city – proclaimed a world heritage site by UNESCO as the best preserved fortified city in South America – their shipmates toiled to prepare the destroyer and ensure she was a fitting venue to support this sales/diplomatic role.

“It’s hard work getting all this sort of thing right – especially in this heat,” said LStd Clare Knapper who worked in temperatures of mid-20s Celsius and humidity over 70 per cent: hot and sticky.

“But it’s part of the job when it all comes together like this.”

Also part of the job has been showing off Dauntless as the best of British, cutting-edge, state-of-the-art etc etc. So it was again in Colombia as the destroyer hosted 44 trainee officers from the Escuela Naval de Cadetes Almirante Padilla – the Colombian counterpart to Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

“Of course everyone thinks of a warship in its primary war-fighting role, because that’s the iconic image of what we do, but events like this help to demonstrate some of the additional roles – and attributes – that a modern and versatile warship like Dauntless can deliver,” said the destroyer’s Commanding Officer Capt Will Warrender.

Having left Cartagena, Dauntless has arrived in Key West for the largest and longest running exercise in the region, UNITAS, which traces its history back to the late 1950s.

The British destroyer will work alongside a dozen warships from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and host nations the USA, as part of a wide-ranging test of the different navies to work together; they’ll also be on stand-by to provide assistance should a hurricane sweep through the region.

Once UNITAS is completed, Dauntless will take up anti-drug-running patrols as part of the international clampdown on the narcotics trade in Caribbean waters and the Gulf of Mexico. She’s due back home in Portsmouth at the end of October.

Naval Today Staff, September 19, 2012; Image: Royal Navy