Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Week 3 of the 'Weekly Wednesday' blog from Able Seaman Rob Foster, HMS Daring
In the lead up to Navy Days which is taking place from Friday 30th July – Sunday 1st August at Portsmouth Naval Base (www.navydaysuk.co.uk), we will bring you ‘weekly Wednesday’ updates from on board HMS DARING - one of the ships open to public during the event.
The Start of Week 5 at Operational Sea Training and our penultimate week in Devonport commenced Monday morning with the Disaster Relief Exercise (DISTEX). This is an evolution that involves the whole ship.
In the North of Devonport Naval Base is a mock-up village – Old Grimsby which, in our scenario was hit by a hurricane the night before. Daring, exercising in the area was sent by the UK Government to render immediate Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operations (HDRO). Working from the amunitioning buoys in the north of the River over looked by the Tamar bridge we set to work; deploying medical, fire fighting, search and rescue, command, recce and survey, engineering and public relations teams using the ship’s helicopter and sea boats. My Job was to conduct a survey of the local Port with the Navigating Officer. Using the old fashioned technique of swinging a lead line (a length of rope with a weight on the end) I measured the depth of water in various places to make a rudimentary chart of the area and assess the suitability for bringing a larger ship such as Daring alongside. The whole thing was a huge logistical operation and required lots of planning and briefing in the days leading up to the exercise.
Arriving in the hurricane hit island of Tresco we were greeted with devastation and it was our job to “Save Life and Lessen Suffering”. We put out fires, rescued casualties, built shelters, repaired the water plant and cooked food. All just another day at OST for Royal Navy ships which history tells us have a good chance of having to do this kind of thing for real.
For more information on Navy Days, please visit: www.navydaysuk.co.uk