HMS Jufair

HMS Jufair is a British Royal Navy base established in Bahrain on 13 April 1935, as part of the port at Mina Salman. In 1950 the United States Navy leased space in HMS Jufair and following Bahraini independence in 1971, took over the base.[1] On 6 December 2014, it was announced that HMS Jufair would be reestablished as a permanent Royal Navy base.[2] On 5 April 2018, the UK Naval Support Facility was officially opened by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Britain’s Prince Andrew.[3]

United Kingdom Naval Support Facility
HMS Jufair
Mina Salman Port, Juffair, Manama in Bahrain
HMS Jufair
Shown in Bahrain
Coordinates26°12′20″N 50°36′55″E
TypeNaval Support Facility
Site information
OperatorRoyal Navy
Controlled byJoint Forces Command
ConditionOperational
Site history
Built1934 (1934)
In use1934 – 1971
2018 – present
EventsOperation KIPION
2019 Persian Gulf crisis
Garrison information
GarrisonUK Maritime Component Command

History

Establishment

The first presence of the Royal Navy in the Persian Gulf came about from the need to control pirates raiding the British Empire ships east of the Gulf of Suez, especially the East India Company routes to India. In the early 1820s the rulers of Bahrain, Salman and Abdullah Al Khalifa, signed an agreement to try and limit piracy in the area. This was strengthened in 1835 through an agreement signed specifically with the Royal Navy, which addressed the need to stop pirates operating in the area, and limit the slave trade. In 1902 the first oil was discovered in the area, but commercial extraction did not begin until 1925, when Frank Holmes was given the first license, with the first oil not exported from Bahrain until 1932.[4]

HMS Jufair

After the death of Sheikh Isa in 1932, having handed control of the state in 1921 under British diplomatic pressure to his son Hamad, his advisor Charles Belgrave, with whom he had modernised the state systems and key infrastructure, suggested that they should come to an agreement with the British to open a permanent Royal Navy base within the state. HMS Jufair opened on 13 April 1935, as part of the port at Mina Salman. It was bombed by the Italian Air Force during World War II, as part of an Axis Forces effort to cut-off one of the three Allied Forces sources of oil in the Persian Gulf.

US Navy establishment

As a result of the raid, and the United States entry into World War II from December 1941, the Royal Navy extended an invitation to the United States Navy, allowing the USN to deploy a small detachment. Post-WW2, the posting was recognized as the U.S. Middle East Force from 1948, a small shore facility that provided logistical and communications support to Marine Expeditionary vessels.

In 1971, with Bahrain gaining independence from the British Empire, the permanent Royal Navy presence in Bahrain officially ended. With agreement of the Emir, the USN immediately took on the entire 10 acres (40,000 m2) site, and eight years later the location was named Administrative Support Unit (ASU) Bahrain. In an effort to more accurately reflect the increasing role of United States Navy activities in the region, the organization was renamed Administrative Support Unit Southwest Asia in 1992. The base was renamed by the US Navy to Naval Support Activity Bahrain.[5]

Restablishment

In December 2014, it was announced that the Royal Navy would be re-opening a permanent naval base east of Suez at Mina Salman Port[6] to be called HMS Juffair[2] or Mina Salman Support Facility with construction starting during October 2015.[7] Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt confirmed that while the aircraft carriers would be able to access facilities while at anchor in the vicinity of the Mina Salman port, they would not be able to berth directly alongside the support facility itself due to draught constraints.[8] On 5 April 2018, the UK Naval Support Facility was officially opened by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Britain’s Prince Andrew. The new facility can accommodate up to around 500 Royal Navy personnel.[9]

HMS Jufair is the home port for ships deployed as part of Operation Kipion, which is the UK's primary military effort in support of peacekeeping in the Gulf region. In addition to ships deployed to the region as part of other deployments, there are a number of vessels permanently station in Bahrain to undertake various tasks:

References

  1. "Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)". Royal Navy. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  2. "UK builds first permanent Middle East base for 40 years". BBC News Online. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  3. "UK opens permanent military base in Bahrain". Reuters. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  4. "Middle East: Bahrain". Britishempire.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  5. Cragg, Dan (2000) Guide to Military Installations, Stackpole Books
  6. "UK to establish £15m permanent Mid East military base". BBC News Online. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  7. "Foreign Secretary attends ceremony for new Royal Navy facility in Bahrain". Royal Navy. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  8. "Bahrain: Military Bases:Written question - 20811". UK Parliament. 4 January 2016.
  9. "UK opens Persian Gulf military base in Bahrain". The Washington Post. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  10. "HMS Montrose to become first forward-deployed frigate in the Middle East". Royal Navy. 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
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