1. ITV Report

HMS Ocean heading to deliver crucial aid to Britons in Caribbean

HMS Ocean is following in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Photo: Royal Navy

Sailors on board HMS Ocean are heading across the Atlantic to deliver aid to Britons in the Caribbean.

The Plymouth-based helicopter carrier is following in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the latest storm to smash its way through the islands of the Caribbean.

It is filled with aid from the UK and Gibraltar Governments including trucks, food, temporary shelters, building materials and toys.

HMS Ocean is the Royal Navy's fleet flagship. Credit: Royal Navy

HMS Ocean is due to reach the region at the end of the week.

On-board are a team of sailors, marines, aviators and engineers, many from the South West.

The vessel is also carrying a Merlin helicopter.

This vehicle can carry several tonnes, and is able to move significant numbers of people and supplies quickly to isolated and cut off places.

Mike Currie, head of the Merlin Force at Cornwall's RNAS Culdrose says the crew will be ready to help out.

Fleet Air Arm Squadrons and Royal Navy Ships routinely train for this type of humanitarian operation. I expect a very challenging few weeks for our men and women, but they will all work tirelessly to help those in hurricane hit areas.

– Mike Currie, Head of Merlin Force at RNAS Culdrose
The Royal Navy says the Merlin Mk2 helicopter is well suited for the operation. Credit: Royal Navy

Another air support team is already making a difference on board RFA Mounts Bay.

From the ship, supplies are being delivered to Tortola and the British Virgin Islands.

Marine engineers have been working around the clock to prepare for Hurricane Maria.