Captain James Gilmour of the Royal New Zealand Navy assumes command of CTF 151 from Rear Admiral Chan of the Republic of Singapore Navy

MANAMA – The Royal New Zealand Navy assumed command of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) yesterday.

Rear Admiral Harris Chan Weng Yip from the Republic of Singapore Navy was relieved by Captain James Gilmour of the Royal New Zealand Navy at a formal ceremony aboard the USS Mason at the naval port facility in Djibouti.

CTF-151 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 25-nation coalition based in Bahrain.

CTF-151 was established in January 2009 in order to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy, protecting maritime vessels of any nationality and securing freedom of navigation for the benefit of all. The mission based counter-piracy task force, CTF-151, operates throughout an area of 2.5 million square miles including the Gulf of Aden, the Southern Red Sea and the Somali Basin.

Rear Admiral Harris Chan Weng Yip, Republic of Singapore Navy, said, “It has indeed been an honour for Singapore to be leading the counter-piracy task force for a second time. As a maritime nation, Singapore’s trade and commerce depend heavily on the seas and freedom of navigation in the major sea lines of communication is very crucial for us.”

“As Commander of CTF 151 and the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) coordinator, I am pleased to report that there have been no pirated vessels in the IRTC in the past three months. This achievement has been possible because of the close liaison between all elements of the coalition and the strong collective will of the naval forces to keep the seas safe.”

Captain James Gilmour of the Royal New Zealand Navy said, “E aku rangitira, te whanau o te taua moana tena koutou katoa. It is truly an honour for me to take command of this vital Task Force from Rear Admiral Chan and his team. I know that we have a tough act to follow and I thank the Republic of Singapore Navy for all of the support that they have extended to me and my team as we have been preparing for this moment.”

“We have brought together a high-performance multinational team and are fully committed to the mission and completely aware of the supreme importance of maintaining liaison and dialogue with the other Task Forces operating in the region in order to maximize our collective achievements.”

CTF-151 is a mission-based multinational counter-piracy task force for Combined Maritime Forces which includes Republic of Korea, Turkey, Singapore, New Zealand, UK and the United States. This is the first time that New Zealand has led CTF-151.