Republic of Singapore Navy assumed command of the Combined Maritime Forces’ counter piracy unit, the CTF 151, from the Pakistan Navy during a ceremony held at CMF headquarters in Bahrain on March 31.
Rear Admiral Cheong Kwok Chien will lead a multi-national team of over thirty people for three months of counter-piracy operations.
CTF 151 is committed to the disruption of piracy and armed robbery in the maritime environment. Its vessels also assist mariners in distress and other humanitarian work as required.
On handing over command Pakistan Navy Rear Admiral Zahid Ilyas said: “Let me say today, we are passing through uncertain and unpredictable times, where diverse threats are posed to the seagoing community on the high seas.”
“Of these, piracy, although low at the moment, continues to present an intricate and extraordinary threat that still impacts on energy security, freedom of navigation and global security and stability.”
On assuming command, Rear Admiral Cheong said it was a privilege to lead the fourth Singaporean CTF 151 command rotation. He acknowledged the successes of Rear Admiral Ilyas’s team, both at sea and in their active engagement with regional nations.
Rear Admiral Cheong said: “I would like to express my gratitude to CMF for giving Singapore this opportunity to command CTF 151, and a special note of thanks to the various Senior National Representatives who have helped us put together a multi-national team.”
“In addition to my Singaporean staff, we have members from Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.”