Naval personnel in Gulf praised by top US Commander for expertise and "outstanding" work

The "outstanding" work of Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines in the Gulf has been praised by the US navy's recently-appointed commander of the region.

Vice Admiral James Malloy, Commander of the US Fifth Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, commended UK naval personnel on their expertise on operating in the Middle East and the "special relationship" they have with their American counterparts. 

He was appointed into the roles last month and will be based in Bahrain which is also home to the headquarters of the UK Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) and the UK Naval Support Facility (UKNSF).

Vice Admiral Malloy, who visited the two Royal Navy sites this month, said: "I have always enjoyed working with the Royal Navy and there is a special relationship between our nations and our navies that I have benefited from for 30 years.

I really appreciate the professionalism and expertise of the British sailors and their ships

Vice Admiral James Malloy

"I am proud of the outstanding British team that supports the Combined Maritime Forces and our staffs of Combined Task Forces 51, 52, 53 and 55.

"I really appreciate the professionalism and expertise of the British sailors and their ships out here in the Gulf and across the wider Middle East."

Currently, the Royal Navy has six ships operating in the Gulf region including Portsmouth-based HMS Dragon. The Type 45 destroyer seized and destroyed 13 tonnes of drugs last month across four busts along the notorious "Hash Highway".

In October, more than 4,000 British personnel took part in the largest combined military exercise for the UK forces since 2002 in Operation Saif Sareea in Oman. 

Several exercises were also held with the US navy including Mine Countermeasures Exercise 18-2 in June, commanded from RFA Cardigan Bay, and the 23rd iteration of Khunjar Hadd (Sharp Dagger) in March.

Commodore Steve Dainton, commander of UKMCC, welcomed the appointment of Vice Admiral Malloy. He said: "Our navies have always had much in common and I have enjoyed working with the US navy throughout my career.

"Our true friendship is demonstrated almost daily afloat with the US navy and Royal Navy assets often working together with the same goal, to maintain maritime security across the Middle East."