I begin the week in Bamako, Mali, with a crackly telephone call to Commodore Dean Bassett, UK Maritime Component Commander in the Gulf. He informs me that HMS Montrose and the Maritime Trade Operation has seen 30 ships safely through the Strait of Hormuz. These ships had been given 24 hours’ notice for their transit. Another, Stena Impero, had not made it through. Montrose was given only 60 minutes notice for her transit. Despite increasing to flank speed, she was 20 minutes too late and steamed into the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The anger and disappointment is evident in the Commodore’s voice as he professionally delivers his report. I thank him and his team for their efforts.
After breakfast, I travel by C-17 to Gao to visit our counter-terrorism operations and a UN peacekeeping mission.