His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales visited Bahrain where he opened the a naval support facility at the Mina Salman port.
The facility is UK’s first new overseas establishment in 45 years.
The new building forms part of a larger installation, due to come into service next summer, that will serve personnel stationed in Bahrain as they work to protect shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf.
The Crown Prince of Bahrain and The Prince of Wales were welcomed to the site by the United Kingdom maritime component commander, Commodore William Warrender.
“We are delighted to have The Crown Prince of Bahrain and The Prince of Wales here to mark this significant milestone in the construction of the UK’s largest military support facility,” said Warrender.
“The focus now moves to completing the site with industry partners at Mina Salman port and to prepare the installation for its role supporting operations across the Gulf region.”
The two princes were taken on a tour of the new building and met sailors and staff from the UK and Commonwealth who work there.
The Welfare Building and infrastructure for the site is part of a gift to the United Kingdom by His Majesty The King of Bahrain, and will provide secure berthing and support facilities for Royal Navy vessels, as well as accommodation including sport and recreational services for up to 500 people.
The facility is being built by the Bahraini Defence Force in partnership with Al Dahrani Contracting Company. Specialist support is provided by consultancy firm WYG which advises on compliance with UK standards and regulations.
Prince Charles faced criticism once again as activists said that, by opening the base, he ignored human rights abuses committed by the Gulf state. Activists also said that Bahrain funded the construction of the facility to buy western ‘silence’ over its human rights violations.