The Royal Navy has taken over command of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force 150 from the Royal Australian Navy at a formal change of command ceremony in Bahrain.
Commodore Jeremy Blunden RN assumed command of CTF 150 from Commodore Daryl Bates RAN bringing to an end the RAN’s fifth command of CTF 150 and beginning the Royal Navy’s seventh time in charge.
The handover ceremony was overseen by Vice Admiral John Miller, Commander, US Naval Forces Central Command, Commander, US FIFTH Fleet, Commander, Combined Maritime Forces. He said:
“CTF 150 has been very successful in interdicting illicit cargos: three hash seizures for a total 5,610 kilos, five heroin seizures for a total 1,494 kilos and three amphetamine seizures of 24 kilos. With each interdiction, we have been able to influence the adversary’s behaviour.
“They know we are there, and that the stakes are raised due to the presence of this combined task force.”
“CTF 150 has also strengthened the CMF organisation well into the future through a series of rich engagement activities. Commodore Bates has raised the profile of CMF through significant engagement with the United Nations and regional nations.”
CTF 150 is one of three task forces operated by CMF. Its mission is to promote maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and other illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund, or hide, their movements. The area of operation is vast, covering some two million square miles, including the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
Commodore Bates highlighted the skill and professionalism of his team and the multinational units under his command. He said:
“It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with so many nations committed to improving maritime security and countering terrorism. CMF is a very impressive organisation that achieves great things.”
Acknowledging the accomplishments of Commodore Bates and his team, Commodore Blunden said:
“In addition to their successes at sea, they have expanded our understanding of the frameworks within which we operate and helped moved CTF 150 forward.
“More than at any time, there is an opportunity for CTF 150 to add real value in achieving maritime security in the region. My team stands ready for the task. It is well trained, well supported and eager to get on with the job.”
“We look forward to working closely with CMF staff and all of our partners to make this a reality.”
CTF 150 is a multinational task force. Participating nations have included: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, and Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Command is rotated on a four to six month basis.
Press Release, April 18, 2014; Image: Royal Navy