The Kingdom of Bahrain has purchased the former UK Royal Navy patrol vessel HMS Clyde (P257), the country’s defense ministry announced. HMS Clyde was the Falkland Islands patrol vessel until replaced by the recent arrival of HMS Forth.
HMS Clyde, now named RBNS Al Zubarah, was formally handed over to the Royal Bahraini Navy in a ceremony at Portsmouth, in the UK.
Ex-HMS Clyde spent 12 years in Royal Navy service before being decommissioned in December 2019. Clyde spent the majority of its service life on forward-deployed patrols around the Falkland Islands. Brazil had also expressed an interest in acquiring the patrol vessel.
The sale to Bahrain has been managed by BAE Systems Maritime, the original builder of the River-class patrol boat.
Once in Royal Bahraini Navy service, RBNS Al Zubarah will be one of the main ships in the country’s fleet alongside RBNS Sabha, a former US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate. The rest of the country’s fleet consists of smaller fast attack craft and patrol boats.
It is worth nothing that Bahrain’s main Mina Salman Base also hosts Royal Navy vessels at HMS Jufair, a base established by the United Kingdom in 1935. The Royal Navy regularly deploys mine countermeasure vessels to the base for operations in the Persian Gulf.
In addition to UK forces, the Kingdom is home to Naval Support Activity Bahrain (or NSA Bahrain), housing the US Naval Forces Central Command and United States Fifth Fleet.