UK Secretary of State Visits UKMCC
The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP called on the UKMCC headquarters in order to meet personnel and receive briefings on the U.K.’s naval mission in the Gulf.
He was accompanied throughout by Lieutenant General Simon Mayall CB, Defense Senior Advisor Middle East.
Commenting on his visit, Hammond said, "The Royal Navy's continued presence in the Gulf is essential to ensuring maritime security and to protect freedom of navigation in this important region.
"It has been a pleasure to meet and talk to personnel in our Naval Headquarters in Bahrain who support the Royal Navy's operations in the Gulf, day in, day out."
The Secretary of State also met Vice Admiral John W Miller, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, during his visit.
The UKMCC is collocated with the U.S. 5th Fleet Naval Headquarters in Bahrain.
Commodore Keith Blount OBE RN, Commander UKMCC said, "The tremendously valuable and enjoyable visit by the Secretary of State served both to boost morale amongst the Royal Navy staff based here in Bahrain and to underline the strategic importance the UK places on its presence in the region.
"Our role here is pivotal in safeguarding global economic interests and we remain committed to both Bahrain and the wider Gulf arena."
Captain Robert Bellfield RN, UKMCC Chief of Staff, said, “It was a great opportunity to brief the Secretary of State on our contribution to Maritime Security Operations in the Gulf and the wider region, and for him to meet the headquarters staff.”
Chief Petty Officer Lee Andrews, UKMCC Cox’n, said, “It felt important to welcome the Defense Secretary to the UKMCC. It gave all of us here a chance to emphasize the work the Royal Navy does in this part of the world.”
The UKMCC’s staff of around 80 fulfils a range of roles spanning operations, logistics and intelligence, together with providing specialist advice in legal, media and defense policy.
The staff coordinate the operations of around eleven British frigates, mine countermeasures and support vessels and over 1,000 U.K. military and civilian personnel stationed in the Middle East to support regional security and stability, enhance international diplomacy and protect Britain’s economic interests.