Commodore Mukhtar Khan, Pakistan Navy, relieved Commodore Jonathan Mead, Royal Australian Navy, as Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 (counter-terrorism), during a change of command ceremony onboard PNS Badr, Mina Salman port, Bahrain, April 17.
The ceremony concluded the Royal Australian Navy’s third command of CTF 150, a multi-national task force that conducts maritime security operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Commodore Mead said: “This is the third time Australia has led CTF 150, and it is clear that we have had a powerful and far reaching effect on the maritime domain. We should not underestimate the role which CTF 150 is playing to defeat terrorist activities on the high seas.”
Commenting on the success of CTF 150, Commodore Mead highlighted the recent $5 million drug seizure by HMAS Parramatta in February and the $22 million drug seizure by HMS Westminster in April. By coordinating with the ships in CTF 150, from five different navies, as well law enforcement agencies and coast guards, more than 400 kilos of illegal narcotics was located and destroyed from both incidents.
Mead further added, “The destruction of the drugs was a victory for those who are helping to create a lawful and stable maritime environment, and a set back to terrorists who seek to finance their activities through illegal transportation of narcotics on the high seas.”
This will be the sixth time command of CTF 150 has been held by the Pakistan Navy, who have also held command of CTF 151 (counter-piracy) three times. The 25 personnel team will be based in Bahrain.
Commodore Khan responded: “It is a great honor for me to take command of such an amazing coalition force. Coalition forces are the way forward. CTF 150 is unique and necessary. It promotes common regional goals. The Pakistan Navy has taken a proactive stance to help create a lawful and stable maritime environment. Our partnership through CTF 150 is the hallmark of what a coalition stands for and what it can accomplish.”
CTF150 is a sub command of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and exists to create a lawful and stable maritime environment free from terrorism, smuggling and other illegal activities across an area of two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.