The Spanish Aegis frigate Cristobal Colon enters the harbor at Doha, Qatar, March 24 to attend the Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition. (Christopher P. Cavas)
DOHA, QATAR — The naval parade began a day before the official opening of the Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition, the Middle Eastís largest naval exposition in 2014.
Looming out of the east, the British amphibious support ship Cardigan Bay was the first of nearly 20 gray-hulled warships and naval auxiliaries to arrive at Doha, pulling in to port on March 24.
The Cardigan Bay, based at nearby Bahrain, was soon joined by a Pakistani squadron, then ships from Australia, Turkey, Italy and Spain. More ships soon followed, flying the flags of Greece, Morocco, Oman and the United States.
Notably absent was a representative of the Saudi Arabian Navy, pulled from attending over a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar about news coverage by the Doha-based Al Jazeera news network.
After official receptions and exchanges on March 25, the ships will be open to inspection by DIMDEX visitors for two days. ■