Singapore has taken over the command of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) from Japan in a change of command ceremony held at the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain on June 28.
Rear Admiral Saw Shi Tat, Republic of Singapore Navy relieved Rear Admiral Daisuke Kajimoto of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force at a ceremony attended by VIPs from a number of different nations, overseen by the Commander Combined Maritime Forces, Vice Admiral (VAdm) Scott Stearney US Navy.
Rear Admiral Kajimoto will return to Japan and continue his original job as the Commander Escort Flotilla Three which consists of two escort divisions and eight destroyers.
RAdm Saw reiterated Singapore’s commitment to contributing to international counter-piracy efforts. He said: “As a maritime nation, Singapore’s economic lifelines and successes are inextricably linked to the security and uninhibited flow of seaborne trade, making it essential for Singapore to contribute towards safeguarding these shipping lanes.”
The new CTF151 is known as a ‘rainbow’ coalition, where although Singapore have the lead, they are supported by officers and sailors from a large number of different countries. RAdm Saw said: “It is my privilege to serve with a team of staff from 12 countries, and the diversity and varied expertise which our multinational staff collectively bring to the table will be the key strength of our team.”
The benefits of a multinational set of opinions from so many countries is very beneficial in establishing a very effective team. VAdm Stearney said: “The Japanese-led team’s ability to impart its knowledge and understanding of our area of operations from unique regional viewpoints has directly affected the success of this multinational staff.”
CTF 151 is focused on the deterrence and disruption of piracy and armed robbery in the maritime environment, particularly in the Somali Basin and Southern Red Sea. The Task Force engages with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities such as policing, the ability to conduct effective boarding operations and the development of Maritime Security Standard Operating Procedures which are provided to the shipping industry.
RAdm Saw joined the Republic of Singapore Navy in 1995 and spent his formative years on missile corvettes. He has served as both executive officer and captain of Formidable class frigates and has just relinquished command of the Frigate Squadron to take over CTF151.