Now we have transited the Suez Canal my focus remains on demonstrating the Royal Navy’s ability to project a credible force into the Middle East and promote the UK’s interests there.

Commodore Andrew Burns

Eighty-one sailors and marines from each ship took turns on the Concept 2 rowing machines. Every competitor covered 2,000 metres on the machines, with the collective times totted up… and HMS Ocean proved the fastest.

Its rowers, led by 23-year-old Marine Ali Holman who posted the fastest time of the day (6m 20s for his 2km stint), shaved 38 minutes off the current best time, covering the 162 kilometres of the race in 9 hours 42 minutes and 24 seconds.

Ocean beat Bulwark, who lifted the title last year, but will have to wait until January to see whether they’re the new Fleet champions.

“As a former rower I know how hard it is to row 2,000 meters in a competitive time, let alone to do so in 35 degree heat,” said Capt James Parkin, HMS Bulwark’s Commanding Officer.

“The Royal Navy prides itself on being “fit to fight” and this event, whilst being a Service tradition, proves that we are definitely ready to do so.”

The Task Group has already exercised with NATO allies in the Aegean, hosted a reception for Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Egypt and conducted an act of remembrance in Alexandria.

The deployment proves the UK’s ability to deploy highly effective maritime forces anywhere in the world at short notice.

Now that the Task Group is safely through the Suez Canal, exercises with other navies including Gulf states in the Indian Ocean, will ensure the task group’s readiness for contingent operations, and provide opportunities to maintain relationships with partner nations.

Commodore Andrew Burns, Commander Amphibious Task Group, said: “Now we have transited the Suez Canal my focus remains on demonstrating the Royal Navy’s ability to project a credible force into the Middle East and promote the UK’s interests there.

"The Task Group remain ready to protect them wherever they might be challenged."

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