British warship visits SVG
April 1, 2005
British warship visits SVG

On Monday, March 29, just before leaving port Kingstown Captain Gerry Northwood invited the parents of the four Vincentian sailors aboard the “HMS Liverpool” to tour the ship and to take a helicopter ride.

But two of the parents who did not have their ID cards were almost prevented from boarding the ship, but thanks to the quick and tactful intervention of a British Naval Officer the trip became a reality for all the parents. {{more}}And as soon as the clock stroke 9 a.m. in true military promptness, the ship left the harbour and travelled for a cruise along the Leeward coast. There was even a chance to see one of the vessels which will be used in the filming of “Pirates of the Caribbean” at Walillabou.

The families who were treated to a grand tour of the 412-foot-long ship which accommodates 263 sailors and 26 officers visited classified areas like the high-tech radar room, the command control room, the air defence missiles area among many other quarters.

Many of the parents who travelled the hundreds of stairs that led around the 23-year-old vessel described it as cozy, but others thought it was cramped. The battle ship is similar to those seen in war movies. As the families of the Navy sailors traveled from one flight of stairs to another which led to dozens of other areas, some of the parents exclaimed that the war ship could be described as “cozy” rather then cramped. They saw where their children ate, slept and worked. But at times the fast moving ship was a little too much for some who had to use mints and inhalers to relief themselves from the nausea experienced at sea.

After all the touring, they ate lunch and dined to a variety of dishes and salads in the cafeteria. But the real treat came when it was announced that they would get to fly in the Lynx Helicopter which accommodated some nine persons at a time in one flight. After the exhilarating ride which was shown by the static look on the faces of the families, the parents admitted that they were proud of their children who wanted to make something of themselves.

The Vincentian sailors Steward Mishka Mofford, 25, of Layou, Steward Glenroy Peters, 33, of Mespo, Steward Lennox Simon, 22, of Georgetown, Engineering Mechanic Richard Dover, 27, and Duanette Haywood of Layou, 21, all confessed that to be in the British Royal Navy is a worthy experience. They noted that the pay was very good and there was always training available.

The sailors also said that the ability to “move up in ranks” was always something they all aspired too and they expressed no regrets about joining the Navy. They however indicated that there could be some long and tedious hours on some days, but they all agreed that they came to work, and the military is providing that opportunity.

The HMS Liverpool in their six month Caribbean visit has already been to Key West and Puerto Rico before coming to St. Vincent. They are now heading to Curacao, Grenada, Montserrat, Martinique, Barbados and finally Trinidad. After the Caribbean trip the crew would head back to the UK where they will spend five months. They are mainly involved in rescue missions, drug tasks and interceptions and act as deterants from drug pedellers at sea.

The fifth Vincentian Cameron Adams, was not on board since he was temporarily on another ship where he is on leave.