Commodore Charles McHardie, Royal Australian Navy relieved Commodore Bob Tarrant ADC Royal Navy as Commander Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 (Maritime Security), during a change of command ceremony at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, 20 December 2012.

The ceremony concluded the Royal Navy’s sixth 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. During Commodore Tarrant’s time in command they led a multi-national task force of ships belonging to six different nations: Australia, Canada, France, Pakistan, UK and USA.

CTF150 Change of Command
Commodore Charles McHardie (left) Royal Australian Navy,incoming CTF150 Commander, Commodore Simon Ancona, Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces (Centre), Commodore Bob Tarrant Royal Navy, outgoing CTF150 (Right)Commander

The Change of Command ceremony marks the end of a successful period for Commodore Tarrant and his team which included a focused operation in the Southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden as well as valuable regional engagement visits to Djibouti, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

The focused operation was a success with a level of interaction, coordination and cooperation never before achieved. Significantly, it marked the first occasion that Djibouti had participated in collaborative planning for a CMF operation.  Warships from Australia, Canada, France, Pakistan and Djibouti participated with seariders from both Yemen and Djibouti embarked in HMCS Regina and HMAS Anzac, respectively.

In his farewell speech Commodore Tarrant said that CTF 150 had come a long way since its inception, he said:

“It is a coherent force that is able to respond effectively to maritime security challenges in the region. Command of CTF 150 demonstrates the Royal Navy’s continued commitment in support of coalition efforts to maintain freedom of navigation and lawful maritime order at sea.”

He continued:

“Building relationships and working together with regional nations is vital to developing enduring maritime security in the key choke-points used by so many commercial ships. Only by building trust with the maritime community, through interaction at sea, will we be able to effectively pursue our common cause of overcoming security threats.”

He concluded by saying “I am extremely grateful for the fantastic work undertaken by our ships at sea and I am proud of my team for having contributed wholeheartedly, and to the best of their abilities, to advance the cause of maritime security.  May I wish Commodore McHardie a successful tour as the Commander of CTF 150.”

Commodore McHardie expressed his delight in taking the CTF 150 mantle from the Royal Navy and thanked them for their exceptional work during the period in Command. He said:

“I am honoured, today, to be taking Command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150). This is the fourth time Australia has commanded CTF 150, an extremely important component of Australia’s operations in the Middle East. My staff and I are eager to get started and continue the excellent work our predecessors, Commodore Bob Tarrant, Royal Navy and his staff, have made a significant contribution to maritime security within the Middle East. I look forward to working with the 27 nations of the Combined Maritime Forces, and other Regional nations, to ensure all legitimate mariners can continue to safely operate in the region.”

CTF 150 is one of three taskforces under control of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), based in Bahrain.  CTF 150 was established to set the conditions for security and stability in the region’s maritime environment.  Maritime Security Operations pressurize the maritime domain to deny international terrorists the use of the seas as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.

Commodore Charles Hardie (Left) incoming Commander of CTF150 with Commodore Bob Tarrant (Right) outgoing Commander