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HMS Ocean flies the flag in Egypt

18 October 2016
Last weekend, as part of Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) 16, HMS Ocean became the first major UK warship to visit the Egyptian port of Alexandria in over 8 years.

Visiting Alexandria was an opportunity for HMS Ocean to conduct a range of events which included acts of remembrance, an inter-naval football match as well as hosting senior Egyptian Naval Officers and the UK’s Ambassador to Egypt, His Excellency John Casson. 

In a well-attended ceremony with the Egyptian military the Commanding Officer of HMS Ocean, Captain Rob Pedre, laid a wreath at the Alexandria Naval Unknown Soldier Memorial; however, he was not the only member of the ship’s company to pay his respects.

One of the younger officer’s, Midshipman Michael Golden was able to visit the grave of his great-great-grandfather, who died in 1918 whilst serving with the 6th Battalion, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment just 2 months before the end of the First World War. 

It is a great honour and privilege to bring my ship and Ship’s company to Alexandria and I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome we have received.

Captain Rob Pedre RN

Midshipman Golden said, “It was an honour to be able to visit the grave of my great-great-grandfather Michael Sweeney.

“As the first member of my family to visit his grave I’m grateful to the Royal Navy for helping me to provide a measure of closure to my family.”

He also went on to mention that it was poignant that he and his relative were both brought to Alexandria in the service of their country.

Whilst alongside the ship hosted a reception on behalf of the Ambassador and welcomed on-board a number of civilian and military dignitaries including Major General Asem Ab El Mohsen (Assistant Defence Minister) , Rear Admiral Mohamed Ahmed Mahmoud (Naval Base Commander of Alexandria) and Mr Mohamed Mousalhy (Chairman of the Alexandria Chamber of Shipping).

To much appreciation the evening finished with the traditional spectacle of a Royal Naval Ceremonial Sunset on the ship’s flight deck.

Captain Rob Pedre, Captain of HMS Ocean, said, “It is a great honour and privilege to bring my ship and Ship’s company to Alexandria and I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome we have received.”

He continued, “HMS Ocean’s visit highlights the closeness of the relationship between the Royal Navy and the Egyptian Navy and our continued desire to cooperate in the maritime domain.”

HMS Ocean arrived in Alexandria as part of Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) 16, under the command of Commodore Amphibious Task Group (COMATG), Commodore Andrew Burns OBE.

Subsequently, naval manoeuvres were conducted off the coast with the Egyptian Naval Ship Tahya Misr and both HMS Ocean and HMS Bulwark from the Task Group.

The exercise demonstrated the utility of the UK’s amphibious forces at a pivotal moment for Egypt’s aspiration to develop a similar capability.

The Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) 16 deployment demonstrates the UK’s ability to deploy highly effective and combat-capable maritime forces anywhere in the world.

The Task Group will provide a powerful forward-deployed military capability, giving HM Government a range of options to allow the UK to respond rapidly if faced with an overseas crisis.

The deployment also demonstrates the Royal Navy’s ability to help keep Britain safe, reassure and influence her friends, and enhance her prosperity around the globe.

During the deployment, exercises in Mediterranean and further afield into the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf, will ensure the task group’s readiness for contingent operations, and provide opportunities to develop relationships with NATO allies and other partner nations.

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