Rear Admiral Giam Hock Koon Republic of Singapore Navy relieved Commodore Muhammad Hisham, Pakistan Navy as Commander Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 (counter-piracy), during a change of command ceremony held at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain on 7 March 2013.
The ceremony concluded the Pakistan Navy’s command of CTF 151, which saw a multi-national staff embarked in the USS Farragut (DDG-99) an Arleigh Burke class destroyer in the United States Navy.
Commodore Muhammad Hisham has continued the good work of Combined Maritimes Forces (CMF) CTF 151 in overseeing the continued suppression of piracy in the Horn of Africa, Somali Basin and Indian Ocean. There have been no successful pirate actions during his time in command and his command has done this with the support and cooperation of naval vessels from the partner nations in CMF.
Commodore Muhammad Hisham said of his time in command: “Although piracy has significantly reduced for the time being the threat is not over yet therefore, counter piracy forces need to remain alert and focused on the job.”
He continued: “The present decline in piracy is the result of a multi-dimensional approach by the international community, but the long term solution lies in improving the situation in Somalia”
Rear Admiral Giam Hock Koon Republic of Singapore Navy takes command of CTF151 and will set to sea with his battle staff on board Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria (A387) who is herself a veteran of the war on piracy, having conducted a counter piracy operation in 2011.
Rear Admiral Giam Hock Koon said: “In the days that the Singapore team has been in NSA Bahrain, we have observed 27 nations working as one under the ambit of the CMF. This amazing feat is possible only because we are all driven by a common purpose: to promote security and stability across 2.5 million square miles of international waters – waters which also encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes. It is a massive task, and no single state, acting on its own, has the requisite capabilities to solve the complex security challenges created by piracy.”
He continued: “As a maritime nation dependent on the sea for our security and economic well-being, Singapore is honored to play her part and contribute towards ensuring the freedom of navigation and safety of shipping at sea.”