Middle East News
US Navy base in Bahrain to double in size
May 26, 2010, 18:59 GMT
Mina Salman Port, Bahrain - Construction began Wednesday on doubling the sized of the US Navy base in Bahrain, with digging beginning on a 70-acre site leased from the Bahraini government.
The four-phase, 580 million dollar project will massively increase the military capabilities of the US 5th Fleet based there, according to US officials.
'The 60-year long relationship the US Navy has had with Bahrain has benefited the US, Bahrain, and the entire region. Today's ceremony is a demonstration of America's commitment to a common shared future,' US Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, said during the ground breaking ceremony at Mina Salman port.
'The United States would not be dedicating this kind of resources if we did not have full confidence in Bahrain as an ally and a partner.
'Not only will this project contribute to the safety and security of our two nations and the entire region, but it also represents a significant US investment in the economy of Bahrain creating jobs and income for thousands of Bahrainis,' he said.
The project is expected to take five years to complete, with construction contracts and jobs largely coming from the local Bahraini population.
The first phase of construction, which is scheduled for completion by late 2012, will see the development of site utilities and a utilities building, a perimeter wall and a pass and ID gate.
For the second phase port operations and a harbour patrol unit facility will be built, along with a small-craft basin.
Beginning in the summer of 2011, the third phase will focus on an administration facility consolidating 16 commands, personnel barracks and the flyover bridge which will link the new extension to the current base that oversees US and coalition operations in the region.
The final phase will commence in 2012, and will include additional personnel quarters, a dining facility and a recreation centre.
The Bahrain base is the 5th Fleet Command headquarters and oversees operations inside the Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.
It is directly involved in support the maritime war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as counter-terrorism and counter-piracy on the high seas.