Commodore Charles McHardie visited Kenya and Tanzania recently as a part of a program of East African regional engagements.
Commodore McHardie is the Australian Commander for Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 based in Bahrain.
The visits focused on improving maritime security in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) area of operations by enhancing cooperation, increasing understanding of the region’s maritime capabilities, and creating opportunities to build regional maritime capacity
Commodore McHardie’s visit to Kenya included an official call with the Commander Kenyain Navy, Major General Ngewa Mukala.“It is essential that we work together with the regional states,” Commodore McHardie said.
“Our common goal of maritime security and stability can only be achieved by continued cooperation and information sharing between our forces.
“I am extremely grateful to Major General Mukala for giving up a generous amount time for a candid conversation about the maritime security situation in the region.”
Commodore McHardie took the opportunity to meet representatives from a number of United Nations (UN) organizations while in Nairobi, including the Political Office for Somalia, the Office on Drugs and Crime and the Support Office for AMISOM.
“What I found most remarkable about these organisations is that security and stability, ashore and at sea, is a common thread and key measure of success for the international community across the region,” Commodore McHardie said.
“Establishing ongoing channels for communication ensures we all have the best possible information to continue on with our individual missions.”
The Commander travelled to Tanzania where he met the Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Said Omar.
During the meeting they discussed how Tanzania could expand their existing contribution to regional maritime security and work with CTF 150 assets operating in the region.
Admiral Omar showed vigorous support of the CMF mission and indicated that the Tanzanian Peoples Defence Force had a similar mandate.
Admiral Omar said he believed that the ultimate result, towards which we are all working, should be success against terrorism, narcotics smuggling and piracy.
“It has been beneficial for me to meet with international organisations, regional authorities and our military partners in the region to discuss the CTF 150 mission and CMF objectives,” Commodore McHardie said.
“Strong relationships with regional states are the key to securing an enduring safe and stable maritime environment”.
CTF150 is one of three task forces operated by CMF involving 27 nations in the naval partnership.
The CMF mission is to promote security, stability and prosperity across the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The area encompasses some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.