UK Navy: 'Everyone on the ship is double vaccinated'

VISITING: The flagship of the United Kingdom's Carrier Strike Group 21, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, sits at Kilo Wharf on Naval Base Guam on Aug. 6 during its first visit to the island. The carrier strike group is visiting Guam for the second time in about a month. Dontana Keraskes/The Guam Daily Post

It will be a working visit for some and a rest and leisure stop for others aboard the British Navy's flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and several of its escort ships which are on a two-week Guam stopover.

"The primary purpose is to complete a mid-deployment maintenance period, with engineering work and logistics work on board," said Lt. Joseph Howell, with the Royal Navy's media relations. "This is a working visit, so sailors will be on-ship most days but there will be the chance for those not on duty to rest and relax."

The aircraft carrier pulled into Naval Base Guam's Apra Harbor on Monday with the replenishment ship/tanker escort RFA Tidespring. The British Navy's HMS Kent, a frigate; and HMS Defender, a destroyer; also arrived on Guam on Tuesday with HNLMS Evertsen, a frigate from the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Nearly 4,000 sailors, aviators and Marines are on board the visiting ships.

“Guam provides an opportunity for some much-deserved rest and recreation. We are grateful to the U.S. Navy for the use of their facilities and we look forward to exploring this beautiful Pacific Island.”

The flotilla of naval warships had just completed exercises with the United States and other allies in South Korea and most recently in Japan.

Repeat visitor

This is the second time the British Navy's Carrier Strike Group 21 visited Guam in a little more than a month.

“Guam provides an opportunity for some much-deserved rest and recreation. We are grateful to the U.S. Navy for the use of their facilities and we look forward to exploring this beautiful Pacific island,” the commander of the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group Steve Moorhouse said.

The carrier strike group is 10,000 miles from home; conducting joint exercises and engagements with more than 25 nations.

When the strike group first arrived on Guam on Aug. 6, it had been at sea for weeks following a historic deployment in the Indo-Pacific. The aircraft carrier had about 100 COVID-19 cases in July, partway through its world tour, according to the BBC. 

As a precaution, Howell said, "everyone on the ship is double vaccinated and regular COVID testing takes place on board."

"Mask-wearing is mandated for sailors on and off ship," he added.

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