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Defence in the media

Defence in the media: Saturday 7 September 2019

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Today’s defence related news includes coverage of the UK’s support to those affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Hurricane Dorian and RFA Mounts Bay

The Daily Mail recounts the efforts of a team on board RFA Mounts Bay who rescued five people from the wreckage of the hurricane in the Bahamas. The crew were guided to a British man’s wife by a google maps reference who had been buried under rubble for four days was rescued by the ship’s Wildcat helicopter crew, Captain Rob Anders confirmed. His team also saved an American woman and her three children, including a seven-week old baby. This story is also carried in The News (Portsmouth). The Guardian covers the wider story of the scale of human suffering as a result of the storm, and highlights RFA Mounts Bay sending aid to the shore, including blankets and 500 boxes of ration packs to feed families.

Last night BBC News reported from on-board RFA Mounts Bay, where Captain Rob Anders was interviewed from the bridge of the ship. He described the latest rescue mission after discovering five people who had been cut off from the local population after the storm struck. The report went on to describe the relief efforts by the UK armed forces as being at the “brunt of the international efforts”, as heavy equipment was pushed off towards shore and comments that the UK Military are often the first responders to reach the hardest hit areas in the event of a disaster.  

You can read more about the UK response here.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans interviews

The Times, Telegraph and ITV (Friday night) all carry interviews with new defence Minister Johnny Mercer. The interviews covered a wide range of areas, including the new Office for Veterans Affairs, mental health support in the military and legacy issues.

Military drug policy

The Sun reports this morning on drug policy in the military.

An MOD spokesperson said:

Drug abuse is incompatible with military service and personnel are subject to random compulsory drug testing.

Anyone testing positive for drugs can expect to be discharged.

Commanding officers have the discretion to, in exceptional circumstances, recommend an individual is given a second chance. Our figures show that only 2% of personnel who are retained in service following the failure of a drugs test, go on to reoffend.

Image of the day

Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) teams from RFA Mounts Bay delivering aid to the Island of Great Abaco in the Bahamas
Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) teams, from RFA Mounts Bay, are seen here delivering aid to the Island of Great Abaco in the Bahamas.
The ship has distributed Department for International Development (DFID) relief items, including vital shelter kits. A rigid-hulled inflatable boat was deployed from RFA Mounts Bay this afternoon (04/09) with a dedicated Humanitarian and Disaster Relief team to join up with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and unload vital aid to some of those who have been worst hit by the category five storm.
The ship has been in the Caribbean since June in preparation for the hurricane season and was re-tasked last week to sail to The Bahamas in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian, the strongest ever recorded in The Bahamas.

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