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Valletta Hosts Amphibious Task Group

Valletta Hosts Amphibious Task Group
Valletta Hosts Amphibious Task Group

Four warships which sailed into Valletta’s Grand Harbour last week have now left, sailing into the Mediterranean sunset. HMS Bulwark, HMS Somerset, HMS Argyll and FNS Dupleix are now meeting up with the rest of the TAURUS 09 Task Group, ready for a major exercise off the coast of Cyprus.

During their busy stay, the Commodore and Officers from HMS Bulwark hosted an Official Reception for 300 guests on behalf of the British High Commissioner, whilst there were also organised tours for members of TS Malta Sea Cadets and 200 Affiliated Maltese Scouts and their families to the task group ships. TS Malta was also presented with two bosun’s dinghies, a gift from the RN Sailing Centre in partnership with Weymouth Sea Cadets. On Saturday HMS Bulwark opened the ship to the public allowing approximately 2300 people to look around the Amphibious Assault ship.

Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines conducted community project maintenance work at Razzett-tal-Hbiberija and supported conservation projects organised through Bird Life Malta.  However it was not all work for the crews, as there were plenty of opportunities for some rest and recreation, with organised rugby, football, and cricket tournaments whilst some the crews also went horse-riding, mountain biking, kayaking and even competed in the Malta half marathon around some of the spectacular and historic scenery Malta has to offer.

On leaving Malta, the Task Group has reformed with the other elements of the group that visited other Mediterranean ports: helicopter landing platform HMS Ocean, United States Navy Guided Missile Destroyer USS Mitscher and support ships from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The Group will continue through the Mediterranean, exercising in amphibious and anti-submarine warfare, as well as conducting maritime security operations. Part of the Task Group will continue through to the Middle East and on to South East Asia, culminating in a multi-national training package in the primary jungles of Brunei. Riverine training will also be conducted with the Bangladeshi Navy, the first such interaction in more than a decade. At its height, 3,300 personnel will take part in the 20,400 mile round-trip deployment, interacting, training and building relations with 17 nations.