HMS Lancaster Visits Kingston, Jamaica
Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster recently paid a formal visit to Kingston on the island of Jamaica. The Type-23 frigate arrived in the Commonwealth Realm on her emancipation day; marking 51 years since she gained independence.
The visit comes after the completion of Lancaster’s first counter narcotics patrol during her six-month North Atlantic deployment.
During Lancaster’s stay the Commanding Officer hosted a Mess Dinner for the Jamaican Chief of Defence Staff, the US Ambassador and other VIPs as well as a formal reception and capability demonstration for the British High Commissioner and over 160 local dignitaries.
A 40 man band from the Jamaican Defence Force gave a Caribbean twist to the Royal Navy’s traditional ceremonial sunset, which ended the evening.
A team of 40 sailors from Lancaster also put their skilled labour to good use during the visit by restoring the Port Royal Naval cemetery.
HMS Lancaster’s Commanding Officer, Commander Steve Moorhouse, said:
“It was a great honour to visit Jamaica and continue the long relationship the Royal Navy has had with the island, which was for over 200 years the largest Royal Naval Base in the Caribbean.
“I am delighted we had the opportunity to support the British High Commissioner and work with the Jamaican Defence Force to share knowledge and also to better prepare ourselves for working in the region.
“It was also hugely important to be able to give something back to the island and hopefully the restoration project at Port Royal Naval cemetery will leave a lasting legacy of Lancaster.”
Families of those working in the British High Commission in Kingston had the opportunity to tour Lancaster during her time alongside.
Several groups of adults and children spent the afternoon exploring the ins and outs of a warship from the bridge to the ship’s control centre, where the engines are controlled.
Lancaster leaves Jamaica after giving the authorities on the island a greater awareness of her presence and role in the Caribbean, both in terms of counter narcotics and disaster relief.
As well as Jamaica, Lancaster will visit numerous Commonwealth and Caribbean islands in order to conduct regional defence engagement, train with other navies and demonstrate the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region.
Press Release, August 15, 2013; Image: Royal Navy