By Beatrice Thomas
The project at the UK Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) complex will be the biggest operational theatre outside the UK
A multi-million-dollar expansion of the UK Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) complex in Juffair has began, it was reported.
The BD6.3m ($16.71m) project is being built by British money procured through Foreign Military Sales, Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News reported.
The project comprises a new headquarters and an engineering and logistics facility, with both buildings expected to be completed by July 2015 to coincide with the completion of the Salman Naval Base, previously known as Mina Salman Port.
“The build has a 30-year design life and is testament to the commitment of the UKMCC in Bahrain as before we have only ever had temporary buildings and this is what we usually have in other locations like Afghanistan,” project manager Royal Engineer Major Ros Elliott was quoted as saying.
“But this project is putting out a clear statement that we are going to be here for a significant period of time and it is a big commitment and promise to Bahrain that we will be here carrying out our work preventing drug smuggling and people smuggling, which funds terrorism, and maintaining security on the seas.
“This will be the UK's biggest operational theatre outside of the UK.”
The original maritime headquarters was built in 2001 with eight people based at the facility. This has now grown to more than 80 UK personnel, the Gulf Daily News reported.
The Royal Navy has maintained a continuous presence in the Gulf since 1980 and is the second-biggest Western maritime force stationed in Bahrain after the US.
“The relationship between the Royal Navy and Bahrain goes back 200 years,” said UK Maritime Component Commander and Deputy Commander Commodore Keith Blount.
“This new UK Maritime Component Command headquarters and logistics facility underscores the UK's continuing and enduring commitment to Bahrain and the wider region.”