Operation Kipion Mine Countermeasures

Four of the Navy's mine hunters are a permanent presence in the region; it is also a demonstration of our continued commitment to enduring peace and safe passage in the area.

Commander Ash Spencer and his staff are embarked aboard RFA Cardigan Bay. Whilst deployed as Commander UK Mine Counter Measure Force (COMUKMCMFOR), Cdr Spencer and his staff will command, coordinate and control the operations of the 4 forward deployed Royal Navy mine hunters and supporting units.

They will also work very closely with regional and coalition partners to maintain the security of the sea lanes of communications, which are crucial to both international shipping and the global economy.

COMUKMCMFOR is the UK's Mine Warfare Battle Staff, permanently forward deployed to the Middle East to command, co-ordinate and control the UK's four Mine Counter Measure Vessels equally forward deployed to Bahrain.

The staff is made up of 19 core personnel and supplemented by augmentees when necessary for larger operations and exercises.

The MCM force is able to operate independently, or as part of a multi-national force. Their primary role is to ensure that vital trade routes in the Middle East are kept open to merchant shipping in order to keep maritime trade flowing world wide.

What we are doing

Ensuring the safe flow of trade and oil in the area

Why we are there

Our enduring commitment to peace and stability in the region


Ashley Spencer

Rank: Commander

Commander Ash Spencer joined the Royal Navy in 1999. He deployed as the Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force in May 2018.

Previous units

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Providing security at sea

The UK has a responsibility to its citizens and its allies to endeavour to safeguard the high seas. This is why the Royal Navy protects home and international waters – making sure the global trade that Britain and the world depend on can proceed without a hitch.

Protecting our economy

Maritime trade is the lifeblood of the UK economy and industry. 95% of Britain’s economic activity depends on the oceans. And every year Britain imports goods worth £524 billion.

The UK is so dependent on the seas for its prosperity, that without the Royal Navy acting as a deterrent the effect on the economy would be overwhelming.

Location middle east

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HMS Middleton (M34)

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HMS Blyth (M111)

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RFA Cardigan Bay

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