Three in three for Combined Task Force 150!

Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 has made a third seizure of drugs in three weeks in the Arabian Sea. On 17 March, the United States Ship (USS) Laboon seized 500 kg of hashish concealed on a dhow that had been identified as likely to be conducting illicit activity.

The USS Laboon’s boarding team who only a few days earlier had boarded and seized 270 kg of heroin on another dhow, didn’t take long to find the large sacks of hashish on this latest boarding. It is another example of how effectively CTF 150 is monitoring and assessing activity in their area of operations. This is achieved by incorporating data from ‘URSA’, Canada’s satellite information downlink, with the information feed of the warships and aircraft tasked by CTF 150, plus the continuous vigilance of the merchant community.

Lieutenant Dan Foley, the boarding officer who led the team that made the seizure, credited them for their diligence and professionalism throughout the inspection and search:

“They worked tirelessly for over 14 hours to secure the illicit narcotics,” Foley said. “I cannot praise them enough for staying calm and collected in a very tense environment. Ultimately, it was a great day; we kept the drugs off the market and most importantly denied terrorist organizations from benefitting off the profits of the narcotics onboard.”

On 13 March USS Laboon intercepted a small stateless dhow in the international waters of the Arabian Sea, seizing 270 kg of heroin. On 2 March, another ship from CTF 150, the Australian HMAS Arunta, seized 800kg of Hashish, making this the third CTF 150 seizure in the last three weeks.

Commander of Combined Task Force 150, Commodore Haydn C. Edmundson from the Royal Canadian Navy, said, “These boardings, whether they result in a successful seizure or not, are some of the most complex and dangerous evolutions that our sailors conduct on the high seas. This second seizure by the USS Laboon in such a short period of time is testament to their superb training and preparedness for this task which is just one of the many missions the ship has while deployed.”

Imagery: Sailors assigned to USS Laboon inspect bags containing Hashish discovered during an inspection of a dhow in the Arabian Sea, March 17 (credit: US Navy photos)

Established in 2002, CTF 150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organizations 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 organizations that would cause others harm.

 

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The CMF Commanders Conference (Bahrain) 15 – 16 March 2017

The bi-annual conference took place recently in Bahrain with senior representatives from all 31 CMF nations, as well as the 3 Combined Task Forces (CTFs): CTF-150 (Counter-Terrorism), CTF-151 (Counter-Piracy), and CTF-152 (Maritime Security Operations in the Gulf). The conference also involved a number of other nations and organisations including: European Union Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR), Northern Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and representatives from industry including Intertanko. Encouragingly, independent maritime nations such as India and Sri Lanka also attended, interested in CMF output and how they operate.

The two day conference, chaired by the Commander of CMF, Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, is an opportunity to brief on CMF activities, successes, challenges, and opportunities for future cooperation.

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Pirated MV Aris 13 released and underway

After what has been a tense few days monitoring the situation off Puntland, the MV Aris 13 has been released by the armed pirates who boarded it and forced it to an anchorage off the coast.

The MV Aris 13 was boarded on Monday 13 March by armed men who later demanded a ransom for the release of the ship and its eight crew.

Japan-led CTF 151 received a report on Friday 17 March from a Japanese MPRA that overflew the MV Aris 13 that the master had confirmed that he and his crew were unharmed and heading to a safe port.

This incident has highlighted the importance of following best management practice (BMP 4) in order to deter potential acts of piracy and using the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor (IRTC) when planning a route.

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Combined Task Force 150 achieves its second seizure of drugs in under two weeks!

Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 has made a second seizure of drugs in under two weeks in the Arabian Sea. On 13 March, the United States Ship (USS) LABOON seized 270 kg of heroin concealed on a dhow that had been tracked by a helicopter from the Royal Navy’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort Victoria.

The USS LABOON’s boarding team conducted a thorough search of the dhow that resulted in the discovery of the heroin. While such operations are complex and challenging, the ship’s boarding teams are highly professional and trained specifically for this role. Commander Jason Labott, Commanding Officer USS LABOON said, “The execution of this operation demonstrates the abilities of multinational forces to coordinate across great distances for the common good of the international community. The hard work and professionalism of our boarding team, LABOON’s crew, air crews from RFA Fort Victoria, and the shore side support of CTF 150 and CTF 55 deserve great credit. Keeping these drugs off the street helps everyone, and keeps money from those who use the profits for harm.”

In less than two weeks since the successful seizure of 800 kg of hashish by the Australian Ship HMAS Arunta, the Commander of Combined Task Force 150, Commodore Haydn C. Edmundson from the Royal Canadian Navy, said, “This is another big win for Combined Maritime Forces and we in CTF 150 HQ are very impressed with the superb cooperation of all units and organizations involved in this successful operation; we are particularly proud of the Captain and crew of USS LABOON for their excellent performance on this important mission.”

Commander Combined Maritime Forces, Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan said, “The impressive work of Combined Task Force 150, under the leadership of Royal Canadian Navy Commodore Haydn Edmundson, continued last night with the second successful seizure of illegal drugs in less than two weeks. The seizure on 2 March by HMAS Arunta and last night’s seizure by USS LABOON has resulted in preventing more than a thousand kilograms of hashish and heroin from reaching their destination and will prevent transnational terrorists from profiting off these nefarious activities.” He added, “The continued successes of CTF 150 demonstrate the value of the multinational collective of like-minded nations that make up the Combined Maritime Forces and certify that when navies work together all nations profit with increased maritime security.”

Established in 2002, CTF 150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organizations 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 organizations that would cause others harm.

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CTF 151 Change of Command Ceremony

CTF 151 Change of Command Ceremony

 

Japan has taken command of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 after conducting a change of command ceremony with the Pakistan (PKN) Navy today.  This was presided over by Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan USN, Commander US Naval Forces Central Command, Commander US Fifth Fleet and Commander Combined Maritime Forces. CTF 151’s principal mission is to deter piracy and armed robbery in the maritime environment across an area of almost 3.2 million square miles, encompassing the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin and Southern Red Sea.

Rear Admiral Tatsuya Fukuda, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force assumed command of CTF 151 from Commodore Muhammad Shuaib SI (M), Pakistan Navy, on 9 March 2017 at a ceremony at CMF headquarters in Bahrain.  His Excellency the Ambassador of Pakistan Mr Javed Malik and Deputy Chief of Missions for the Japanese Embassy Mr Daisuke Yamamoto were in attendance.

During the next four months Japan will lead a multi-national team to deter pirates, reassure those who ply their trade and travel upon the high seas legitimately and facilitate the free flow of commerce across the area of operations.

On handing over command, Commodore Shuaib said, “I am proud to have served here and of all we have achieved together. I am convinced that Rear Admiral Fukuda will continue to enjoy success as he takes command of CTF 151.”

On assuming command, Rear Admiral Fukuda said it was a privilege to lead the Japan CTF 151 command rotation. He praised the successes of Commodore Shuaib’s team both at sea and in their active engagement with regional nations and remarked that, “It is a great privilege to be given this opportunity to serve the international maritime community alongside my staff representing 10 different nations and their highly regarded navies.”

Not only does CTF 151 synchronise its efforts with those of similar task forces such as the European Union, it also works closely with a number of independent nations patrolling the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden. Additionally, CTF 151 units also assist mariners in distress and conduct other humanitarian work as required.

 

_2158702Commodore Muhammad Shuaib SI(M) hands over command of CTF 151 to Rear Admiral Tatsuya Fukuda whilst Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan looks on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Combined Task Force 150 seizes hashish upon the high seas

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                                    Australian ship seizes drugs worth $36 million!

 

On 2 March, Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Arunta has seized 800 kg of hashish hidden in a consignment of coffee.

Under the authority of Canadian-led and Australian supported Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), HMAS Arunta seized the drugs in the Arabian Sea in what was the ship’s first successful intercept since starting counter terrorism operations in December 2016.

 

Commander Cameron Steil, Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta described the lead-up to the dhow being intercepted:

 

“There were numerous suspicious elements regarding this vessel and subsequently we conducted a thorough search. Narcotic smuggling is well known in this area with the smugglers always trying to find new ways to hide cargo but our boarding parties’ training, techniques and equipment are of the highest standard.”

 

The drugs have an estimated street value of approximately $36 million according to Australian Crime Commission figures. Commander Steil added:

 

“Our combined efforts under CTF-150 improve the overall maritime security, stability and prosperity in the region by denying terrorist organisations their ability to move personnel, weapons or narcotics and obstructing their capacity to raise funds.”

 

Commodore Haydn Edmundson, Commander of Combined Task Force 150 said, “It’s due to the tenacity of the ship’s captain and crew that illegal cargos like this seizure of hashish don’t make it to their final destination, and that they do not enable funding for terrorist organizations. We, the CTF 150 team, are very proud of Arunta and her fine crew.”

 

Established in 2002, CTF-150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organisations and their unlawful activities by restricting freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain. In collaboration with regional and other partners CTF-150 promotes maritime security by denying terrorist organisations their ability to move personnel, weapons or narcotics obstructing their capacity to raise funds.

 

Commodore William Warrender Royal Navy, Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces remarked upon the nature of the day-to-day tasking that he is responsible for at CMF HQ, “HMAS Arunta resumed her patrol on completion of the boarding and continues to operate in the area working with other navies as part of the 31 nation Combined Maritime Forces to ensure the free flow of commerce and maritime security for all who use the sea legally. It is very much our desire that this success leads to more seizures of illicit cargo.”

 

 

ENDS

 

 

Notes to editors:

 

For further questions, please contact:

Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs

Tel Office:  + 973 1785 9981 / 4942

 

Email: Frances.Mansergh.GB@me.navy.mil

www.CombinedMaritimeForces.com

http://twitter.com/#!/CMF_Bahrain

Facebook:  Combined Maritime Forces

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French Ship Forbin rescues crew from sinking dhow in Gulf of Oman

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The French Marine Nationale anti-air frigate FS Forbin, assigned to Commander Task Force (CTF) 50-led by the Royal Navy, assisted in the rescue of mariners from a sinking dhow on Feb 13.

FS Forbin was in the Gulf of Oman on Monday 13 Feb 17 when the ship heard a May Day call from a dhow in distress.

The captain of the dhow ‘Al Shena’ reported that his vessel was taking on a lot of water. Within minutes of acknowledging the May Day call FS Forbin’s Commanding Officer, Captain Christophe Cluzel, launched the NH90 helicopter and altered the ship’s course in the direction of the dhow approximately forty miles away.

An Oman Maritime Patrol Aircraft assisted in the coordination of the rescue. The urgency of the situation was clear as soon as the helicopter arrived on the scene. All crew members and passengers were winched off the sinking dhow by the French Aircrew and transferred to a nearby merchant vessel which had also responded to the May Day call.

Minutes after the last person had been lifted off the vessel, the ‘Al Shena’ capsized and sank.

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