Combined Maritime Force (CMF) senior officers visit the Royal Bahrain Naval Force.

On 16th May a team of CMF officers, led by Captain Maurizio Pastorino of the Italian Navy, visited the Royal Bahrain Naval Force to understand the capabilities it can bring to bear. The visitors were provided with a comprehensive brief about the Navy and how it contributes to Bahrain’s security, followed by a productive question and answer session.

After the brief, the CMF officers were given a detailed tour of a number of vessels, followed by a harbor tour. The result of this meeting is that key members of the CMF staff have refreshed their knowledge about an important partner nation, improving their ability to plan and conduct operations to ensure maritime security and counter criminal activity in the region.

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CMF reinforces safety of life at sea

During the weekend of 13-14 May 2017 CTF151 coordinated a rescue from a sinking Yemeni dhow, Al-Mubarak, in the western Gulf of Aden. Pakistan Navy Ship Tippu Sultan, on CTF151 counter piracy operations, was first on scene and, following the involvement of UKMTO and assistance of Djibouti-flagged merchant vessel MV Aladdin, the dhow’s crew of 8 was delivered safely to Aden.

PNS_Tippu_Sultan_former_HMS_Avenger.jpg

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Second Narcotics Seizure for HMAS Arunta Demonstrates Winning Combined Maritime Formula

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Arunta has seized more than 250kg of heroin hidden in a dhow transiting the North West Indian Ocean.

This seizure marks the second successful narcotics interdiction for Arunta since the frigate commenced its counter-terrorism mission as part of Combined Task Force 150 in December 2016. In March this year the warship seized 800kg of hashish.

Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta, Commander Cameron Steil RAN said: “While the smugglers continue to try new techniques for hiding narcotics, our boarding parties have shown that their experience, training, and techniques are up to the task at hand.”

The Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft has repeatedly proven itself to be a key enabler in narcotics seizures. The aircraft combs the CTF 150 Area of Operation that spans over two million square miles searching for suspicious dhows. Information gathered on these patrols narrows the odds for ships like HMAS Arunta to intercept and board dhows across an ocean expanse twice as large as the Mediterranean Sea.

Rear Admiral Lebas, Commander CTF 150, said: “This narcotics seizure demonstrates the determination and professionalism of the captain and crew of HMAS Arunta.

Units operating under the command of Combined Task Force 150 continue to remove significant quantities of narcotics from international markets, and so prevent criminal and terrorist organizations benefiting from the trade.”

HMAS Arunta is Australia’s major surface vessel contribution to Combined Maritime Forces and CTF 150.

Established in 2002, CTF 150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organisations and their activities by denying them the freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain. In collaboration with international and regional maritime security partners, CTF 150 teams have seized and destroyed billions of dollars in drugs and captured thousands of weapons ensuring they are no longer available to organisations that would cause others harm.

Under a French lead, the staff of CTF 150 is the first combined French-UK command which operationalises the French-UK naval co-operation under the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF). This framework was initiated in 2010 under the Lancaster House Agreement between Paris and London. The staff also includes officers from Belgium, Italy and Australia, and exercises command over ships and aircraft from several CMF participating nations.

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40th SHADE Conference Held in Bahrain with the Need for Vigilance off Coast of Somalia Reinforced

The 40th Shared Awareness and De-Confliction (SHADE) conference took place in Bahrain between 25 – 26 April, with military and shipping industry representatives from 33 countries and 14 international organisations taking part in a range of discussions and forums.

C-aabdSXcAE-BB7Image: Colonel Richard Cantrill (Chief of Staff EU Naval Forces) and Rear Admiral Tatsuya Fukuda of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and Commander of Combined Task Force 151 at the SHADE Conference. 

The SHADE initiative began in 2008 as a way of coordinating activities with regards to counter-piracy operations and self-protection measures in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.  Key aspects of the SHADE conference are the exchange of views and information sharing between all stakeholders.

SHADE is also used to discuss and coordinate the escort of merchant shipping through the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), aerial coverage of the piracy high risk area by maritime patrol aircraft and coordinated efforts to deal effectively with the piracy threat.

Through the SHADE process, in early 2012 China, India and Japan agreed to coordinate their merchant vessel escorts in the ITRC, and by June 2012 South Korea had also agreed to do the same.

CHOY GALI FORMING ON LINEImage: Republic of Korea’s Choi Young (under Combined Maritime Forces) and EUNAVFOR’s flagship ESPS Galicia working in partnership to deter piracy within the Arabian Sea.  

During the latest SHADE conference, there were representatives from the Combined Maritime Forces, including CTF 150 and 151, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMTO), EU NAVFOR, MSCHOA, Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), NATO, United Nations World Food Programme, Puntland State of Somalia Minister for Transport, Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Centre for Safety and Security at Sea (REFLECS3), Russian Ministry of Defence, Indian Navy, independent maritime security organisations and other industry partners.

Speaking on completion of the SHADE conference, EU NAVFOR’s Chief of Staff, Colonel Richard Cantril Royal Marines stated “Having just chaired the latest SHADE conference and reflecting on the responses to recent piracy incidents, I am struck by the willingness of all partners to cooperate in the face of a possible piracy resurgence and the human misery and disruption that this would cause to seafarers and vessels transiting the High Risk Area. Naval forces, the shipping industry and Somali partners are working together to understand the situation on the Horn of Africa and to cooperate in support of freedom of navigation.”

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Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense visits NAVCENT and CTF151

On Saturday 6th May 2017, Mr Hiroyuki Miyazawa, visited US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the Japanese led Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 in Manama, Bahrain.

170506-N-XP344-001Image (left to right): Rear Admiral Fukuda JMSDF (Commander Combined Task Force 151), Commodore Warrender RN (Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces), Mr Hiroyuki Miyazawa (Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister for Defence) and Vice Admiral Donegan USN (Commander US Fifth Fleet, US Naval Forces Central Command and Commander Combined Maritime Forces) outside NAVCENT Headquarters.

Mr Miyazawa, the Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense, initially visited the Commander of Combined Maritime Forces, Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan at NAVCENT headquarters for discussions on the involvement of Japan in Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). The meeting was ended with a traditional exchange of gifts.

170506-N-XP344-002Image: VADM Donegan USN and Mr Miyazawa discussed the involvement of Japan within Combined Maritime Forces and Combined Task Force 151.

After the completion of his visit to NAVCENT, Mr Miyazawa then visited the headquarters of CTF151. Rear Admiral Tatsuya Fukuda of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and Commander of CTF151, was pleased to be given the opportunity to update Mr Miyazawa, and his team on the current situation regarding piracy and the operational focus of CTF151.

170506-N-XP344-013Image: RADM Fukuda introduces members of his multi-national CTF151 HQ to the Vice Minister of Defence.
170506-N-XP344-017Image: The Vice Minister of Defence with ADAM Fukuda and memebrs of the CTF151 HQ.
170506-N-XP344-021Image: RADM Fukuda briefs the Vice Minister on regional maritime security and the importance of the ongoing naval presence in the region. 

Following the discussion, which covered regional maritime security and the importance of the ongoing naval presence in the region, the Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense was given a tour of CTF151 and introduced to the multi-national staff of the task force.

Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). Its mission is to promote maritime security through the deterrence and disruption of piracy and armed robbery in the maritime environment.

170506-N-XP344-015Image: The Paliamentary Vice President for Defence meets a number of staff members that make up the CTF151 Headquarters.
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First Narcotics seizures for French Ship Surcouf under CTF150

Less than three weeks into its deployment, the FS Surcouf has made its first two narcotics seizures, with back to back boardings yielding around 400kg of heroin.

Early in the morning on 28 April Surcouf’s boarding team began their search of the first dhow – a process that takes time. The team must be methodical so as not to miss or overlook any part of the ship, a particularly difficult task as another suspicious vessel was just over the horizon. Over the course of the next four days they continued to search the vessel, finding multiple stashes and locating a total of around 200 kg of heroin.

20170430_NP_SCF_Le SURCOUF saisit près de 130 kg d'héroïne en océan Indien1Image: Members of FS Surcouf’s boarding team with part of the seizure

Key to the interdiction was the support provided by the Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The P-3 combs the CTF 150 Area of Operation that spans over two million square miles. It narrows the odds for ships like FS Surcouf to intercept and board dhows across an ocean expanse twice as large as the Mediterranean Sea.

The first boarding and seizure complete, Surcouf began to track down the second suspicious dhow, locating the vessel and beginning the second boarding on the 3 May. By the end of the day almost 200kg of heroin had been seized bringing the total over the six days and two boardings to around 400kg. At a value of over $US155 Million the seizure deals a significant blow to smugglers and the terrorist organisations that use narcotics to fund their activities.

Commander CTF150 Rear Admiral Lebas said: “Surcouf and her boarding team showed great skill and tenacity in conducting long and meticulous searches of these dhows in arduous conditions. This seizure once again demonstrates that ships operating in support of the Combined Maritime Forces Combined Task Force 150, are removing significant quantities of narcotics from African and European markets, and so preventing criminal and terrorist organisations benefitting from the trade.”

20170430_NP_SCF_Le SURCOUF saisit près de 130 kg d'héroïne en océan Indien2Image: FS Surcouf and the boarding party on board a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), flank one of the intercepted Dhows.

Established in 2002, CTF150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organisations and their activities by denying them the freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain.  In collaboration with international and regional maritime security partners, CTF150 teams have seized and destroyed billions of dollars in drugs and captured thousands of weapons ensuring they are no longer available to organisations that would cause others harm.

The French/UK-led CTF150 is the operationalisation of French-UK naval co-operation under the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force framework, and includes staff from Belgium, Italy and Australia, exercising command over ships and aircraft from several CMF participating nations.

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SEYCHELLES, PAKISTAN AND THE IMPORTANCE OF KEY LEADER ENGAGEMENTS

Combined Maritime Forces have continued to promote regional cooperation through the process of ‘Key Leader Engagements’.

Rear Admiral (RADM) Tatsuya Fukuda, Commander of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF151), visited the Seychelles and Pakistan recently to conduct a series of key meetings with the leaders of military and civilian organisations involved in counter piracy operations.

20170418_141824_1493546449677Image: RADM Fukuda speaks with members of the Seychelles Coast Guard and Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force. 

In the Seychelles, amongst other military leaders, he met Brigadier Leopold Payet, the Chief of Seychelles People’s Defence Force, and Colonel Simon Dine, Commanding Officer of the Seychelles Coast Guard.

RADM Fukuda similarly had positive meetings with senior representatives from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the leadership of the Prison Service, which currently detains a number of convicted pirates. He also met with the Seychelles Attorney General to discuss the successful prosecution of pirates.

Col Simon Diner CO Seychelles Coast GuardImage: RADM Fukuda presents Colonel Simon Dine, the Commanding Officer of the Seychelles Coast Guard with a CTF151 plaque. 

The visit also gave the admiral an opportunity to discuss the work of Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Centre for Safety and Security at Sea (REFLECS3) based in the Seychelles, and the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), currently chaired by the Seychelles. The two organisations are critical in combatting piracy in the region.

During his visit to Islamabad, RADM Fukuda met Pakistan’s Secretary Defence, Lt Gen Zamir ul Assan Shah, and a number of senior naval officers, providing him with the opportunity to thank Pakistan for its ongoing commitment to CMF, CTF151 and regional maritime security including counter piracy.

Brigadier Leopold Payet Chief of Seychelles People's Defence ForceImage: RADM Fukuda meets with the Chief of Seychelles People’s Defence Force, Brigadier Leopold Payet.

RADM Fukuda’s discussion with the Secretary Defence confirmed the close cooperation between Japan and Pakistan. He said: “This meeting confirmed the strong leadership in Pakistan, its support for CMF and its commitment to CMF operations.”

Asked about his recent visits, RADM Fukuda added: “Key leadership engagement is an important role for commanders of Combined Task Forces in CMF, allowing us to meet both civilian and military leaders. These visits have enabled us to demonstrate to the Seychelles and Pakistan how much CMF values their ongoing contribution and to discuss further cooperation and capacity building in the region.”

To combat any potential return to piracy off the coast of Somalia, nations such as Pakistan and the Seychelles are reassured by CMFs mission and operational capability, and are able to work closely with CMF, contributing assets, sharing information and building a recognised maritime picture across the region.

Secretary Defence1Image: RADM Fukuda meets with the Pakistan Secretary of Defence
Foreign Secretary Ambassador Claude MorelImage: RADM Fukuda presents the Seychelles Foreign Secretary, Mr Claude Morel, with a CTF151 plaque.
Joseph Bibi Director of REFLECS3Image: Mr Joseph Bibi, the Director of the Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Centre for Safety and Security at Sea (REFLECS3) with Rear Admiral Fukuda of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force and Commander of Combined Task Force 151.
RADM Fayyaz Gilani2Image: Rear Admiral Fukuda (CCTF151) meets Rear Admiral Fayyaz Gilani, a Senior Naval Officer from Pakistan.
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