HE is new on the bridge of HMS Montrose. But Commander Ollie Hucker is no stranger to defending strategic pinch points.

A former surface warfare planner at the Royal Navy’s Maritime Battle Staff, he also has experience on anti-piracy operations in the seas East of Suez.

Mr Hucker was given the command of the Montrose 18 years after joining the navy as a midshipman in 2001.

His official biography suggests he knows about the strategy and politics of naval warfare as well as the practicalities.

He spent two years on dry land, from 2007 to 2009, on the Naval Staff in London. He did so as the Flag Lieutenant to the First Sea Lord and Admiralty Board, effectively an aide-de-camp to the biggest decision-makers in Whitehall.

That was, his official biography said, “a fascinating appointment that gave a rare insight into the higher levels of strategic decision and policy making, within the Ministry of Defence”.

From Whitehall, he headed to the Indian Ocean to fight pirates as navigation officer on board a now decommissioned frigate, HMS Cornwall.

Mr Hucker then went to the Maritime Warfare School as a Navigation Instructor in September 2011 before getting his first command, a patrol boat based in Gibraltar called HMS Sabre.

Promoted to Lieutenant Commander, he commanded a naval squadron out of “The Rock” before new training as a role as an anti-submarine weapons officer on board yet another frigate, HMS Portland.

He was surface warfare planner at Maritime Battle Staff in May 2017 , a job that saw him “engaging in a multitude of operational exercises with numerous staffs from multiple nations.” He became a commander - the rank that serves as the captain of larger ships - in 2018 and had a brief stint as chief of staff to the Commander of the Devonport flotilla before getting his job in charge of the Montrose.