After two years at the helm of the UK Maritime Component Command in Bahrain, Commodore Simon Ancona is handing over his responsibilities and moving into a new role.
At the US Naval Headquarters in Bahrain, Cdre Ancona thanked his staff for the “superb job” they did before handing over his responsibilities as the UK Maritime Component Commander and Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces to Commodore Keith Blount.
Cdre Ancona will shortly join the Ministry of Defence in the rank of Rear Admiral.
Royal Navy warships have maintained a constant presence in the Persian Gulf since September 1980 and in recent years have played a significant role as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a Bahrain-based multi-national naval force drawn from 29 nations with missions including counter-piracy, counter-terrorism and the maintenance of security in and around the Persian Gulf.
Regarding his Royal Navy responsibilities in the 2.5 million square mile Joint Operating Area, which encompasses the majority of the Middle East, Cdre Ancona said:
“There is no doubting the importance and relevance of the work being done by the Royal Navy in the region.
“It is impossible to name another area of the globe that has such a direct effect on UK security and prosperity.
“The men and women who deploy here do a superb job in often very difficult circumstances and it has been a pleasure and honour to play my part.”
With regard to his Combined Maritime Forces responsibilities, he added:
“The CMF is a remarkable organisation – perhaps the largest maritime cooperative that has ever existed – it continues to marshal forces from across its 29 nation membership to contribute to security and stability in a region of global importance.
“I have been privileged to have been a part of it.”
The UK has had strong defence links with the Persian Gulf region for many years. Enhancing these links even further through military relationships is at the core of the UKMCC responsibilities.
The Gulf States are a source of economic and political influence and the UK, through the enduring RN presence continues its engagement with them to address a range of international issues.
Press Release, September 30, 2013; Image: Royal Navy