An image of HMS MONTROSE protecting international shipping lanes in the Gulf.

Do Explosive Ordnance Divers really have big egos? Series 1 Episode 2 | Fancy a Brew?

Life in Bahrain comes with many interesting stories: take a look behind the scenes at some highlights from our latest episode of Fancy a Brew?

☕️ It’s that time again!

Grab yourself a brew, take a seat and immerse yourself in life in the Gulf on Operation KIPION with our three guests.

An image of the three podcast participants for Series 1 Episode 2 of Fancy a Brew?
From left to right: Participating as part of a bubble, Logistician Rebecca McKenzie, Lieutenant Zoe Jones and Lieutenant Commander Andrew ‘Sharkey’ Ward were the latest participants in Fancy a Brew?

Operation KIPION is the name given to the Royal Navy’s presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean. The Royal Navy has been present in the Gulf for more than 30 years securing the safe flow of trade goods. The Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary are on patrol in the region 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Listen to the podcast here:👇

Here are some highlights from the episode:👇

🍔 What is the food situation like?

Rebecca: “The food here is really good. I’m veggie, but it’s all been really good, really well catered for, nice spice as well.

Andrew: “We have got a Sri Lankan theme that’s coming up, which is pretty exciting actually. Because of COVID we don’t have the opportunity to go out into Bahrain properly anymore, so it’s really good that the chefs here put on a special show every now and then like tonight.

Zoe: “Yeah, they do a good job, and it’s a good variety as well, obviously sometimes the same stuff starts cropping up but you can’t really complain.

🤷‍♂️ Who has got the coolest job out here?

Andrew: “So we have mine countermeasures vessels out here, and they have Explosive Ordnance Divers on them which even sounds cool just from the job title. Their job is to dive under the water and defuse mines and bombs that are on the bottom of the sea.

Zoe: “If someone listens to this that’s an Explosive Ordnance Diver, their ego will grow yet further.

Andrew: “Yeah they do have quite big egos, and you have to be extremely physically fit for that job and their job is to dive under the water and defuse mines and bombs that are on the bottom of the sea.

An image of a machine gun on HMS Montrose, which is maintained by weapon engineers during sea boat operations.
The Royal Navy has been present in the Gulf for more than 30 years.

👀 What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you on deployment?

Zoe: “At nine o’clock on Christmas Eve, I had to ring the Commodore, the most senior person. I had to tell him that he needed to come in to do a video chat with PJHQ [Permanent Joint Headquarters] in the UK because of some stuff that was potentially going on. It started at midnight, and they all came in and I thought ‘Happy Christmas sir, you are on a video conference’, and then at about 1am our time, they left and that was the start of their Christmas Day.

🌊 Does much go on in the Gulf?

Andrew: “Of course it does. We constantly have interactions with the merchant shipping community; one of our main reasons for being here is to reassure the merchant shipping community that it’s safe for them to ply their trade up and down the Gulf and out into the Indian Ocean. The reason that’s so important is because the Gulf is the point of origin for lots of oil products that are used in the UK and throughout Europe.

Andrew: “One of our main jobs is to keep the merchant shipping community feeling safe and protected, and we send out warships to escort them through the narrowest bits of the sea, such as the Strait of Hormuz or the Bab-el-Mandeb.

“We try and facilitate the ships so that they’re sustainable, going to sea, coming back in, just giving them a hand really, and some morale.” — Logistician Rebecca McKenzie

An image of the flight observer of a Royal Navy Wildcat walking away after carrying out aviation operations in the Gulf.
Pictured is the flight observer of a Royal Navy Wildcat walking away after carrying out aviation operations in the Gulf.

🏠 Are you missing home?

Rebecca: “Only since I started seeing the snow, because it’s not snowed properly like that for a long time.

“I have always wanted to do something that was worthwhile. And even though sometimes it’s hard to remember that on any given day, we are out here keeping Britain safe. We are out here doing what needs to be done, despite the difficulties of doing it in this COVID lockdown time.” — Lieutenant Commander Andrew ‘Sharkey’ Ward

Find out where else the UK Armed Forces are deployed here 👇

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