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France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are deploying military assets to the Caribbean to jointly support efforts being made by the authorities in their respective overseas territories in their struggle against COVID-19, the MoD in London announced on 23 April.

In order to help relieve local populations, the three nations decided to bring a coordinated military answer in support of civilian crisis management tools. The following naval vessels have been sent to the region as a result:

  • DIXMUDE – a MISTRAL-class amphibious assault ship (helicopter carrier) fo the French Navy;
  • RFA ARGUS – a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship operated by Britain’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary, with a 100-bed medical complex on board;
  • HNlMS KAREL DOORMAN – a Dutch Navy multi-function support ship for amphibious operations.

Operations will be coordinated by a regional military joint coordination cell, to be located in Fort-de-France, the capital of Martinique. Its mission will be to optimise national military contributions to support the action of local states. This mechanism should provide greater agility and flexibility in responding to the spread of the virus throughout the Caribbean.

Inspired by lessons drawn from their military cooperation during Hurricane Irma in 2017, as well as discussions in EI2 format, the three nations intend to benefit from this experience by better coordinating their actions in a spirit of mutual support and European solidarity.

RFA ARGUS embarks a 100-bed medical complex and associated support: she will cooperate with French and Dutch naval vessels in joint efforts to support local Caribbean authorities in fighting COVID-19. (Photo: Crown copyright)

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