RFA Argus Transports Vehicles to Sierra Leone

The 32 UK-funded vehicles are on their way to Sierra Leone where they will transport staff, medicines and equipment to help defeat Ebola.

32 UK-funded pickup trucks to assist efforts to defeat Ebola in Sierra Leone have been loaded aboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Argus during a planned stop at a British Naval Base in Gibraltar.

Throughout the day on Tuesday 21 October, the vehicles were lifted onto the deck of the ship where they will remain until the ship reaches Freetown later next week.

On arrival in Sierra Leone they will transport staff, medicines and equipment around the country.

Speaking from Sierra Leone, where she arrived yesterday to visit UK funded Ebola treatment and training facilities, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

These vehicles will be vital to keep Ebola treatment centres running across the country. From transporting medical supplies to ensuring treatment centres are well stocked with protective clothing, they will help increase capacity and capability as we work to control and defeat Ebola in Sierra Leone.

There are currently more than 300 UK military personnel in Sierra Leone from all three services – Army, Navy and RAF – comprised of medics, engineers, logisticians and planners. The Royal Navy’s RFA Argus and its Merlin helicopters, along with highly-skilled personnel, left Falmouth on the 17 October and on arrival will provide further support to UK efforts to tackle the virus. By the end of October, Defence’s total contribution to the UK’s work to tackle Ebola in Sierra Leone will amount to around 750 personnel.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

I am hugely proud of the RFA Argus mission. It demonstrates clearly the UK’s determination to lead the World’s efforts to tackle the Ebola crisis. The loading of vital DFID vehicles on to the ship in Gibraltar en route to Sierra Leone highlights yet again that the permanent joint operating base there is of huge strategic importance to the UK.

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Press release, Image: UK Navy