The first Cyprus-UK joint search and rescue exercise in 2020 was successfully conducted off the coast of Limassol on Monday, a press release by the British High Commission said.
The exercise, led by the Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre (JRCC) Larnaca, saw the participation of Republic of Cyprus Police Aviation Unit, the UK’s HMS ENTERPRISE and the British Bases’ 84 Squadron with a member of the Cyprus Navy on board.
The exercise featured a simulation of a joint rescue of a missing person and the evacuation of an injured crew member from aboard a ship, the BHC said.
HMS ENTERPRISE is a multi-role survey vessel which recently returned to Limassol after having been deployed to Beirut immediately after the deadly explosion in the port last month, the press release said, noting that the vessel operated alongside the Lebanese Navy Hydrographic Service to conduct a survey of the approaches to the port.
British High Commissioner Stephen Lillie and Lieutenant Junior Grade Anastasios Paraskevopoulos from the JRCC paid tribute on Monday to the close working relationship between the United Kingdom and Cyprus.
“Such exercises are vital for maintaining our search and rescue preparedness and an excellent opportunity to bring our nations together in training. We value our long-running cooperation with Cyprus in both SAR and crisis response, and we look forward to continuing to work together, including through live exercises, to the benefit of both our countries and the wider region,” Lillie said after the exercise.
On his part, Commander of the British Forces in Cyprus, Major General Rob Thomson, said “today’s exercise further strengthens an already close working relationship between our two nations. Our crew from RAF Akrotiri’s 84 Squadron have worked successfully alongside their colleagues in the Republic of Cyprus on an almost daily basis, fighting fires during this very busy summer period.”
Bilateral cooperation between the UK and Cyprus on SAR incidents and tackling natural disasters has strengthened over the years, the BHC said, noting that more such joint SAR exercises are expected to take place later this year.