UKHMS Somerset’s marines train with Saudi Arabian troops

Roy­al Marines on board HMS Som­er­set have recent­ly trained with Sau­di Arabia’s Mar­itime Bor­der Unit dur­ing a port-stop by the Roy­al Navy war­ship in Jed­dah.

An air­man of the Com­man­do Heli­copter Force on HMS Somerset’s deck as a Mer­lin heli­copter exer­cis­es in the back­ground [Pic­ture: Lead­ing Air­man (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er) Abbie Gadd, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Type 23 frigate HMS Som­er­set is cur­rent­ly on mar­itime secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions in the Mid­dle East work­ing along­side Sau­di Ara­bi­an author­i­ties to ensure free and safe pas­sage for ships in local waters, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the Red Sea, which is one of the world’s busiest trade routes and vital to the British econ­o­my.

The ship took the chance to stop off in Jed­dah to embark fresh pro­vi­sions, host a num­ber of Sau­di dig­ni­taries to pro­mote Anglo-Sau­di rela­tions, and give the Roy­al Marines board­ing par­ty a chance to train along­side their coun­ter­parts.

HMS Somerset’s Com­mand­ing Offi­cer, Com­man­der Paul Bris­towe, said:

“Sau­di Ara­bia remains a friend­ly and impor­tant nation with­in the Mid­dle East; the vis­it has pro­vid­ed an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the UK to strength­en its diplo­mat­ic bonds.

“Our Roy­al Marines were able to train with the Sau­di Mar­itime Bor­der Unit in board­ing meth­ods; this helps demon­strate the con­cert­ed inter­na­tion­al effort to ensure mar­itime secu­ri­ty with­in the region.”

Dur­ing the day, Com­man­der Bris­towe host­ed key mem­bers of the Roy­al Sau­di Navy and Bor­der Guard, includ­ing Rear Admi­ral Ibrahim Al Dili­gan, the Deputy West­ern Fleet Com­man­der, and Brigadier Safar Al Ahamar, the Coast Guard Region­al Com­man­der.

That evening, an offi­cial recep­tion was also held for a vari­ety of local dig­ni­taries on board the ship to strength­en inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. It was sup­port­ed by Rear Admi­ral Mohith Al Sham­rani (Roy­al Sau­di Navy) and numer­ous Con­sul Gen­er­als from near­by embassies.

As a busy com­mer­cial port, Jed­dah is reliant on secure mar­itime trade routes with­in the Red Sea and so enlists the help of war­ships with­in the area to ensure that the high seas remain safe places for com­mer­cial ves­sels to tran­sit. The port also pro­vides the ide­al oppor­tu­ni­ty for ships to con­duct essen­tial main­te­nance and resup­ply pro­vi­sions while remain­ing close to allo­cat­ed patrol areas.

HMS Som­er­set is work­ing under the multi­na­tion­al Com­bined Mar­itime Forces which patrols the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indi­an Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. The endeav­our exists to cre­ate a law­ful and sta­ble mar­itime envi­ron­ment free from ter­ror­ism, smug­gling and oth­er ille­gal activ­i­ties with the prin­ci­pal mis­sion to deter, dis­rupt and defeat such actions.

Through­out Somerset’s six-month deploy­ment, her ship’s com­pa­ny has pro­mot­ed sta­ble and co-oper­a­tive rela­tion­ships in the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates, Oman, Tan­za­nia and the Sey­chelles.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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