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Prince of Wales opens new welfare building to support Royal Navy sailors in Bahrain

HRH The Prince of Wales shares a joke with the ship’s company of HMS Middleton. Picture: PO G Granger US Navy
11 November 2016
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales gave the Royal Navy’s newest support facility his seal of approval when he opened the Welfare Building at the Mina Salman port in Bahrain.

In a historic milestone for the UK’s first new establishment ashore east of Suez since 1971, the prince officially opened the building alongside HRH The Crown Prince of Bahrain. 

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 some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

Their Royal Highnesses 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

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 Commodore Warrender, who is responsible for the UK’s maritime presence across the Gulf and Indian Ocean. 

“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 modern 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. Andrew Fotherby, Director of WYG, said: 

“We are honoured to have both the Royal Highnesses here to mark this important occasion which is a reflection on the significance of the project and evidence of the collaboration between many different partners, both Bahraini and British, who have contributed to the design and build of the facility here at Mina Salman.”

Mina Salman Port will play a central role in the Royal Navy’s ability to operate in the region and reaffirms the UK’s determination to work with Bahrain to maintain the security and stability in the Gulf. The facility will give the UK an enhanced and permanent presence in the region.

One of the members of the Royal Navy contingent stationed in Bahrain is Able Seaman (Mine Warfare) Gareth Miles, 31, of HMS Middleton, a Hunt-class Mine Countermeasures Vessel. He had the privilege of meeting the Prince of Wales during the visit, and said: 

“It was a real honour to meet the Prince of Wales and it’s definitely the highlight of my deployment. The new facilities being built here will make a huge difference to our quality of life out here, where the Royal Navy is based all year round to maintain security in the Gulf.”

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