Royal Navy ship to support disaster relief efforts in Tonga

HMS Spey (Photo: Royal Navy)
HMS Spey (Photo: Royal Navy)

A Royal Navy patrol ship will support international disaster relief efforts after a tsunami devastated Tonga.

An extremely rare underwater volcanic eruption sent giant waves crashing into the Pacific islands, destroying homes and blanketing the area in volcanic ash.

The River-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) HMS Spey has been diverted to the islands from Tahiti and will be part of an international response to help people effected. The OPV is permanently stationed in the Pacific Ocean alongside sister vessel HMS Tamar and carries aboard vital supplies for Tonga, including 30,000 litres of drinking water and 400 first aid kits.

Spey left Tahiti on Wednesday, January 19, to make the 2,700-kilometre journey west to Tonga, where the ship's sailors will work closely with their counterparts from Australia and New Zealand.

Spey also has an embarked Royal Navy hydrographic team that will be in the harbour of the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa to help make the nation's main port safe for critical supplies to begin flowing in.

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Baird Maritime / Work Boat World