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Patrol ship HMS Tamar completes week-long visit to Brunei

Brunei patrol ship KDB Syafaat leads Tamar
22 December 2022
Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Tamar has completed her first ‘proper’ visit to Brunei as she heads west towards the Indian Ocean.

Covid restrictions earlier in 2022 meant none of the ship’s 50 crew were able to get beyond the jetty as they took on fresh supplies.

 

So the seven-day visit at the close of the year finally allowed them to experience the Sultanate – and show off their ship to the local populace.

 

Before entering Muara Naval Base (Pangkalan Tentera Laut Muara) Tamar was greeted off Brunei by the fast patrol boat KDP Syafaat for some joint exercises and manoeuvres.

 

The ship’s visit coincided with the Royal Brunei Navy’s annual open day, when personnel allow their families to look around their vessels.

More than 850 guests were welcomed onboard HMS Tamar in just three hours, where they got the chance to tour the ship and talk to HMS Tamar ship's company about life in the Royal Navy.

 

Brunei is an important ally of the UK in the region, playing an extremely important role in support of British Forces providing a vital geographical outpost in the region.

 

There’s a battalion of Gurkhas, small garrison troop and an Army Air Corps helicopter flight stationed in the country, whose jungle terrain is ideal for training soldiers and Royal Marines in one of the harshest fighting environments.

 

None of this was news to caterer Able Seaman Rana who works in Tamar’s galley. He served in the Gurkhas – and in Brunei – before changing careers five years ago.

 

There were a number of defence engagement activities to carry out, including hosting British High Commissioner, John Virgoe, accompanied by his son and the British Defence Attaché for an informal tour of the ship.

 

The ship’s company dipped into the long history of seafaring in Brunei with a visit to the nation’s Maritime Museum which hosts its counterpart of the Mary Rose, a wreck recovered off the coast which reveals trading links with China, Vietnam and Thailand in the late 15th and early 16th Centuries.

 

And in a match which mirrored the scoreline of the World Cup final (minus some of the star names), Tamar’s footballers were within five minutes of an historic victory over the Royal Brunei Navy.

 

In 31C heat and 85 per cent humidity, the two teams played out a 3-3 draw after the Brits had gone from two goals down to lead 3-2 with just five minutes remaining only for an equaliser from the hosts.

 

“We were really excited to visit Brunei – especially as this time we will be able to step ashore and experience all this amazing country has to offer,” said Lieutenant Commander Matt Millyard, HMS Tamar’s Executive Officer.

 

“Training alongside our partners and allies is extremely important to us as the Royal Navy pursues its renewed permanent presence in the Indo-Asia Pacific, and with our historical ties to Brunei, it’s been fantastic to build on our already strong relationship.”

 

After a year focused around the Pacific Rim, HMS Tamar is re-focusing efforts on the Indo ‘element’ of her mission to re-forge military, seafaring and economic ties with allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific region.

 

On the voyage from Japan to Brunei, the flight deck was turned into a makeshift cinema with England’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to eventual runners-up France shown – at 3am local time.

We were really excited to visit Brunei – especially as this time we were able to step ashore and experience all this amazing country has to offer.

Lt Cdr Matt Millyard, HMS Tamar

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