The Royal Australian Navy is at the helm of Combined Maritime Forces’ Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150) after assuming command from the Pakistan Navy in a change of command ceremony at CMF headquarters in Bahrain on December 7.
Australian Commodore Mal Wise assumed command of CTF150 from Pakistani Rear Admiral Naveed Ahmed Rizvi in a ceremony presided over by US Navy Vice Admiral John Aquilino, commander US Naval Forces Central Command, commander US Fifth Fleet and commander Combined Maritime Forces.
This is the 7th time Australia is assuming command of CTF 150. More importantly, however, the new CTF 150 command staff team includes seven personnel from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in an Australian-led joint Australian/Canadian staff.
This will be an important development for the RCN team, as Canada looks to develop its skills and understanding of CMF ahead of its own planned command of CTF150 at a later date in 2018.
The principal mission of CTF150 is to deter terrorism, narcotics smuggling and other illegal activity in the maritime environment across an area of almost 3.2 million square miles, encompassing the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin and Southern Red Sea. During the next four months the Australian-led team will continue the work to counter terrorism and drugs smugglers and reassure legitimate users of the high seas to ensure the free flow of commerce across the area of operations.