ITV Meridian's Alice Knight reports on the sailors' mission in the Caribbean.
Royal Navy sailors from the Portsmouth-based HMS Dauntless helped remove 'dangerous' plastic waste from a turtle nesting site in the Caribbean.
Sailors stopped on the island of Curaçao during a patrol of the region, where they volunteered with Sea Turtle Conservation to clear more than 200kg of plastic waste from vital habitats.
HMS Dauntless is deployed to the Caribbean to help stop drugs smugglers alongside the US Coast Guard and provide support to British Overseas Territories during hurricane season from June to November.
Fifty British sailors from the Type 45 destroyer volunteered on the Dutch Island during a logistics stop, where they also helped to carry out medical checks on the turtle population.
The joint effort by HMS Dauntless and Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao aims to raise awareness about the urgent need to combat ocean plastics and safeguard the biodiversity of the world’s oceans.
Sea turtles often mistake plastic debris for food, leading to ingestion and internal injuries that can prove fatal.
Entanglement in discarded fishing nets and other plastic waste presents life-threatening hazards for these gentle marine creatures.
Ard Vreugdenhil, the Field Co-ordinator for Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao, said: “I am very happy people are more and more aware of the care we need to have for the world we are living in. We have to spread the word and be an example.
“It is good to show this example of collaboration and taking responsibility and hopefully we can continue the partnership between the Royal Navy and Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao."
Able Seaman Megan Page, from the Royal Navy’s Hydrography and Meteorology Branch, was among the volunteers.
She said: “The environment is very important to the Royal Navy and, with the growing impact of climate change, we are here today to conduct a beach clean-up.
“It is important to be able to work with local organisations as part of this deployment to understand the challenges faced by marine life and support where we can.”
HMS Dauntless will now continue her patrol countering the region’s narcotics trade and providing reassurance to British Overseas Territories as hurricane season continues.
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