The Daily Herald writes that the rotational detachment of the Netherlands Royal Marines based on St. Maarten made a training trip to Saba. On Monday, they arrived on their Fast Raiding Intervention Special Craft (Frisc) from St. Maarten, having first visited St. Eustatius where they remained for the day, conducting a social patrol and climbing the Quill, before continuing to Saba. On Tuesday they conducted social patrols in The Bottom and Windwardside.
Social Patrols are aimed at familiarisation between the Marines and the residents, whilst at the same time training in patrolling in specific formations. During these patrols, the marines were available for a chat or to answer questions of residents, or to have their photographs taken with interested people, often children. The Marines also climbed Mount Scenery, where they completed survival lessons under guidance of their instructors. During the following days, the Marines put into practice what they had learned during a threeday survival exercise, which involved the men building their own accommodation and living under primitive circumstances.
During the first two nights on Saba, the Marines had their accommodation inside a building which is part of Queen of the Holy Rosary Church in Zion’s hill, also known as Hell’s Gate. However, during the last two nights, the Marines were surprised by their supervisors by an order to sleep in the accommodation they had built on the side of Mount Scenery. The supervisors themselves returned to the church, forcing their troops to fully rely on their training, which they managed to do successfully.
Despite the heavy rainfall, the Marines described the exercise as “challenging but very enjoyable,” both on Statia and Saba, and named the climbing of the Quill and Mount Scenery highlights of the trip. They also received positive feedback from the population on both islands, and the interaction was said to be enjoyed by the residents of both islands, as well as by the Marines.
The Marines returned to St. Maarten on Friday, also by FRISC, and looked back on an enjoyable and successful trip. The current rotational detachment will remain on St. Maarten until the end of September, when a new rotational detachment will take over. A visit to Saba and Statia will also be on the agenda for future detachments.