Plymouth based frigate HMS Northumberland visits Bahrain
PLYMOUTH-based HMS Northumberland paid a visit to Bahrain – the home of the UK Maritime Component Commander, writes Lisa Boyle.
It was the first port of call in the country during the Type 23 Frigate's eight-month deployment.
Her crew are conducting counter-piracy and anti-drug operations in the Middle East as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) organisation.
Invited on board was Brigadier General Ahmed Khalifa Salman Al Khalifa, Commander of the Royal Bahrain Naval Force.
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The Naval chief is an important regional partner to the British Navy, a forces spokesman said.
Commodore Simon Ancona, UK Maritime Component Command's senior officer, said: "HMS Northumberland has come alongside fresh from providing valuable and direct support to CMF. She is operating in a challenging environment and it's obvious the ship's company have risen to the challenge."
Many sailors consider no port visit complete without a game of rugby – and Bahrain Rugby Club players were willing to test their skills against a Northumberland team. Despite a strong performance HMS Northumberland lost 21-12 to the local side.
The ship's team has only played five matches in two years, the last one having taken place in Muscat, in Oman.
The sailors are now back at sea conducting operations in support of CMF ahead of the huge upcoming Naval Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi which draws scores of visitors. HMS Northumberland will be demonstrating the ship's capability and systems to both regional and global visitors at the event.
The crew will also be looking forward to two more games of rugby and two of football.
Rugby team captain Chief Petty Officer Jamie McNeil said: "This is our fifth game in two years with a new team so I feel the performance that they gave [against Bahrain Rugby Club] was great."