HMS Brocklesby and Shoreham in Doha

Two of the UK’s Gulf-based minehunters made the short trip from Bahrain to Doha to give Qatar’s navy an insight into the Royal Navy’s work in the region.

HMS Brocklesby and Shoreham carried out joint training with the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces both in their base and then out in the Gulf.

The Qataris do not possess any minehunters in their fleet of more than 80 patrol craft, but they do possess divers.

They plunged into the water with Brocklesby’s dive teams to carry out jetty searches – the arduous task of looking for bombs or mines placed in harbours to disrupt shipping.

My divers particularly enjoyed the opportunity to compare procedures for conducting an underwater search of a jetty with their Qatari counterparts

Lieutenant Commander Paul Irving RN

Brocklesby also welcomed 25 Qatari sailors on board for demonstrations of some of their equipment, such as the Seafox remote-controlled submersible device which finds, helps identify and finally destroys mines.

After two days in port, the Brits sailed with two Qatari fast patrol boats for combined manoeuvres, culminating in practice boarding operations with Qatari sailors bringing their Hurricane RIB rubber boat up to Brocklesby ready to clamber aboard for an inspection.

Afterwards, the ships returned to Doha with the Brits given time to explore the Qatari capital – the principal host city for the 2022 World Cup.

“The architecture in Doha is stunning,” said Leading Seaman Andrew ‘Pearcy’ Pearson from HMS Shoreham. “A lot of effort is being put into making it a modern designer city and no two buildings are the same, which means that every turn gives you a new and exciting view.

“It will be interesting to see the change once all the stadia are built for the World Cup.”

His HMS Shoreham shipmate and diver Able Seaman Frank Martin added: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Waqif Souq and experience the bustling atmosphere and variety of shops.

“Seeing the falcon handlers in the nearby Falcon Souq was also really interesting and I was surprised to even find a falcon hospital in the souq too!”

Lieutenant Commander Paul Irving, Brocklesby’s Commanding Officer, said he and his crew had thoroughly enjoyed their visit to Qatar – and found it very useful.

“My divers particularly enjoyed the opportunity to compare procedures for conducting an underwater search of a jetty with their Qatari counterparts during the force protection exercise which was especially practical," he added.