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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 17/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) A senior British naval officer has said that UK and its Royal Navy have a strong historic relationship with Oman. Addressing the media on Wednesday, Commander Mike Smith, commanding officer of HMS Somerset, which is docked at Port Sultan Qaboos said, ''It is an honour for the frigate to visit Muscat. We are very pleased to build upon this historic relationship.''

HMS Somerset, the largest Duke class frigate of the UK Royal Navy, will be docked at the port till Saturday.

The frigate's current operational deployment has seen her working with international partners including Oman in and around the Gulf. It's midway through a six-month deployment in the Gulf and has been undertaking maritime security operations East of Suez since early 2014. Its roles in the Gulf include disrupting piracy, preventing terrorist activities, surveying key waterways, developing mine hunting expertise, supporting merchant shipping and promoting UK interests.

On Wednesday, HMS Somerset also hosted students from the Caledonian College of Engineering. Lt Commander Shekhar Shrestha, the ship's marine engineer officer said, ''Opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences with fellow engineers are always enjoyable and rewarding. HMS Somerset's engineers are always keen to share their expertise and explain the complexities of a modern warship to interested visitors.''

On Tuesday, the frigate's sailors and officers participated in Queen Elizabeth II's birthday celebrations. HMS Somerset's guard officer, Lt Tom Loxton said, ''It was a great privilege to lead the ceremonial guard for such a memorable occasion.''

Sailors and officers from the frigate also visited cemetery bay in Muscat to pay respects to British war casualties. The sacrifice was commemorated by the laying of wreaths, two minutes of silence and the playing of the last post by Royal Marines Bugler Gillian Forde, who said, ''It is a rare opportunity to be able to pay your respects in this way and I am honoured to be able to do so while we are in Oman.''&nb


 






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