Before handing over command on Thursday, the outgoing Commander of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) thanked the staff and sailors of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) for their contribution to anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf.

Cdre Hisham gives his final address as Commander of CTF 151

Commodore Muhammad Hisham, Pakistan Navy, praised the efforts of the men and women under his command before handing over the reins of CMF’s anti-piracy operations to the Republic of Singapore Navy’s Rear Admiral Giam Hock Koon.

However, he also reiterated that there is still a lot of work to do in the ongoing fight against piracy.

“Although we see the threat of piracy significantly reduced it is not over yet,” said Cdre Hisham. “The counter piracy forces need to remain alert and focused, and in tandem strive for capacity and capability enhancement of regional maritime forces so that they can effectively patrol areas under their jurisdiction.”

Speaking of his three-month time in command of CTF 151, Cdre Hisham said: “No Commander can successfully accomplish his mission without having professionally competent and ready forces at his disposal.

“In this regard, I was lucky to have under my tactical control fully committed and dedicated units like USS Farragut, HMS Northumberland, HMA Ships Anzac and Toowoomba, ROK Ships Kang Gam Chang and Munmu the Great, and PNS Alamgir.

“USS Farragut remained my flag ship for most of my Command tenure and I would like to especially thank the Commanding Officer and his crew, who are presently transiting back home, for providing my staff and I with excellent support and extending gracious hospitality during our stay on board.”

Commodore Hisham also took time to praise the shore-based staff at CMF HQ, adding: “I extend also special thanks to CCMF, Vice Admiral John Miller, USN DCCMF Commodore Simon Ancona RN for providing me with support in the form of vital information as well as provision of ships and maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

“I would also like to thank Commodore McHardie RAN Combined Task Force 150 for assisting me with assets whenever needed.

“Finally, I would like to thank my staff for all the good work that they have done, and for supporting me throughout the Command period.”

He rounded out his speech by formally handing over to Rear Admiral Giam, saying of his successor: “I am happy that I am handing over command to a very professional officer from the Singapore Navy, who is fully able and competent to lead CTF 151. I wish you a very successful tenure, fair weather and following seas.”