The Australian commander of one of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) task forces in the Middle East has handed over command to the French Marine Nationale.
Captain Jean-Michel Martinet relieved Commodore Charles McHardie as Commander CTF 150 during a change of command ceremony at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain on April 14.
The ceremony concluded the Royal Australian Navy’s successful fourth 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.
Over the past four months, the team, comprised of personnel from the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Canadian Navy, has planned and executed operations conducted by a range of ships and aircraft from CMF contributing nations.
In his farewell speech Commodore McHardie said that CTF 150 has come a long way since its inception and it is clear that they have had a significant impact on the maritime domain.
‘We should not underestimate the role CTF 150 is playing to defeat terrorist activity on the high seas.’
‘Our team has had an exceptionally rewarding four months and are sad to be leaving many good friends behind in Bahrain.
“We have been fortunate to see the results of our efforts in the successful disruption of drug-running activity by HMCS Regina, HMS Northumberland and HMCS Toronto’s recent seizure of 500kg of heroin.’
“These successes have struck at the financial heart of international terrorist organisations.
“While they are easy to identify they are not the only means by which we measure the outcomes of this Command.
“I see our success in the partnerships we have built, our integration with other maritime task forces operating in the area and the strong relationships we have in the CMF community.”
Commodore McHardie wished the French every success in their command.
Captain Martinet went on to express his delight in taking the CTF 150 mantle from the Australian Navy and thanked them for their exceptional work during the period in Command by saying:
‘It is the eighth time that France has assumes this mission and today I am proud to take command of CTF150.
“We will do our best to ensure the continuity of the mission through our good knowledge of the area and our close cooperation with regional nations.
“I am determined to make further progress in improving our counter terrorism and operational capabilities to deal firmly with the threat of illicit activity in our area of responsibility.”
CTF150 is one of three task forces operated by CMF, a naval partnership involving 27 nations.
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.