In a multi-national ceremony at the Maritime Headquarters in Bahrain, Commodore Simon Ancona from the UK Royal Navy assumed command as the Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) from Commodore Tim Fraser Royal Navy on Nov 23.

Commodore Ancona joins from the Maritime Battlestaff HQ based in Portsmouth, England where he served as Deputy Commander of the UK Maritime Force, having previously served as Commander of the UK Carrier Strike Force. On taking up this appointment he also becomes the UK’s Maritime Component Commander (UKMCC) in Bahrain.

Commodore Tim Fraser Royal Navy (left) hands over as Deputy Commander CMF to Commodore Simon Ancona Royal Navy (Image by Lieutenant GH Turner Royal Navy, CMF Public Affairs (MOD / Crown Copyright)

Addressing International Navy representatives gathered to witness the Change of Command, Vice Admiral Mark Fox, US Navy, paid tribute to the strong leadership of Commodore Fraser, thanking him warmly for his personal friendship and professional commitment to the coalition operation. Admiral Fox is dual hatted as the CMF Commander and Commander of the United States Central Command and Fifth Fleet. He said:

Vice Admiral Mark Fox USN (centre) Commander CMF, oversees the handover of Commodores Tim Fraser (left) to Simon Ancona (image - Lieutenant GH Turner Royal Navy, CMF Public Affairs - MOD / Crown Copyright)

“Combined Maritime Operations is the future. – It’s in all our interests to create a collective capability, shaping policy and opinion about the merits of what we are doing here and why. This organization has developed the strongest partnerships amongst participating nations.  Commodore Fraser and his wife, Alison have been in the front row helping to forge those lasting bonds among the 25 nations represented here. I look forward to a making a great friendship and working our way through our mission with his successor Commodore Simon Ancona. Welcome aboard!”

On assuming command Commodore Ancona said:

“I am looking forward to getting to know you all and serving alongside coalition partners. The CMF mission is important from both a national and international perspective and I look to you all to support me as we keep moving forward to develop our collaborative Maritime Security role in the region.”

Commodore Simon Ancona Royal Navy (image by Lieutenant GH Turner Royal Navy, CMF Public Affairs - MOD / Crown Copyright)

On his return to the UK, Commodore Fraser will be promoted Rear Admiral and implement the recommendations for Defence Reform as the Maritime Team Leader in Naval Command Headquarters in Portsmouth.  In his leaving address, he paid tribute to the tremendous support and hospitality provided by the US Navy, enabling CMF Navy ships and personnel to deploy safely. He warmly praised the NSA Bahrain for their many support functions in providing enabling activity for CMF personnel. He said:

“It is a major effort on a daily basis and it’s been a huge privilege to work with so many International Naval Staff. This is one of our greatest strengths, bringing a breadth of talented and specialist mariners together with regional knowledge keenly focused on maritime security. Let’s keep building trust and developing relationships that keep the coalition strong.”

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is an international naval partnership which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across 2.5 million square miles of International waters in the Middle East, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.