Operation Kipion Mine Countermeasures

Four of the Navy's minehunters are a permanent presence in the region; it is also a demonstration of our continued commitment to enduring peace and safe passage in the area.

The Gulf matters.

UK also has strong political, commercial and trading links in the region and units of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been on patrol in the Gulf permanently, 24/7 since October 1980, following the start of the Iran/Iraq conflict.

Our maritime presence is a demonstration of our continued commitment to enduring peace and stability, comprising: a command element, the United Kingdom Component Command (UKMCC), responsible for the wider region, across the Gulf and Indian Ocean, exercising command and control of the RN and RFA ships and cooperating within a 26-nation maritime force.

From 2003 until May 2011 the Royal Navy was heavily committed to the peacekeeping mission in an Iraq post-Saddam Hussein, providing protection for the country's two oil platforms which provide most of Iraq's wealth, and helping to train Iraqi sailors and marines so that they could carry out those protection duties themselves.

HMS Iron Duke completed the last patrol of the platforms in the spring of 2011, followed a few weeks later by the Royal Navy training team at Umm Qasr, the home of the Iraqi Navy, pulling out after helping to instruct more than 1,800 Iraqi sailors and marines.

Despite the Iraq mission ending, the Royal Navy remains heavily engaged in the Gulf. There is typically at least one escort, supported by a tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, employed by UKMCC on Maritime Security patrol, plus a four-strong squadron of minehunters with a Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ship at notice within the operational area.

What we are doing

Ensuring the safe flow of trade and oil in the area

Why we are there

Our enduring commitment to peace and stability in the region

Providing security at sea

The UK has a responsibility to its citizens and its allies to endeavour to safeguard the high seas. This is why the Royal Navy protects home and international waters – making sure the global trade that Britain and the world depend on can proceed without a hitch.

Protecting our economy

Maritime trade is the lifeblood of the UK economy and industry. 95% of Britain’s economic activity depends on the oceans. And every year Britain imports goods worth £524 billion.

The UK is so dependent on the seas for its prosperity, that without the Royal Navy acting as a deterrent the effect on the economy would be overwhelming.

Location middle east

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