The Royal Saudi Naval Force (RNSF) handed over command of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) CTF150 to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in a change of command ceremony at the CMF headquarters in Bahrain on December 6.
Commodore Darren Garnier RCN took command from Commodore Al-Shahrani RSNF. The ceremony was presided over by Commodore Steve Dainton Royal Navy, Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces.
This is the third time that Canada have taken command of CTF150. Both the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force provide military personnel to the CMF headquarters.
Cdre Al-Shahrani has commanded CTF150 since August 2018, a period which has seen ships from many CMF countries providing support to their counter-terrorism role in the Indian Ocean, resulting in over 10, 500kg of hashish being seized and destroyed.
Cdre Al-Shahrani has also undertaken a busy period of meetings and engagements with key leaders of CMF member states in the region, including nations such as Pakistan, Seychelles and the UAE. He has also held important meetings with Egypt to reinforce relations with CMF and develop information sharing.
Upon his departure, Cdre Al-Shahrani said: “I would like to thank all our team at CFT150 for their support. We have worked hard to support the free flow of commerce in the region.”
“On behalf of Canada and the incoming CTF 150 staff, I am honored to assume command of CTF 150 and I can assure you that our joint Canadian and Australian staff has worked extremely hard to prepare for this important counter-terrorism mission,” Cdre Darren Garnier RCN said. “We will be seeking opportunities to disrupt use of the high seas by terrorist groups as a pathway for illicit activities that is then used to fund or conceal their movements.”
The principal mission of CTF150 is to deter terrorism, narcotics smuggling, charcoal 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 Canadian-led team will continue their work to counter terrorism and drug smugglers and reassure legitimate users of the high seas while ensuring the free flow of commerce across the area of operations.