On September 5, 2013, Commodore Muhammad Ishan Qadir of the Pakistan Navy turned over the command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 to Commodore Jeremy Blunden of the Royal Navy.
At the ceremony, Commodore Qadir said, “It is imperative that the international maritime community continues to deter and disrupt piracy, coordinated with all the regional key partners, as we strive to achieve pirate-free high seas. The multi-dimensional approach of the international community has also contributed hugely to the ongoing reduction in pirate activity.”
The handover ceremony was overseen by Vice Admiral John Miller, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, Commander, U.S. FIFTH Fleet, Commander, Combined Maritime Forces who added, “We are here today to celebrate the passing of responsibility, authority and accountability of command from one leader to another. Putting together an effective task force does not just happen, it takes hard work and a committed leadership team to make it so. Commodore Qadir and the Pakistan Navy have performed superbly and I am confident that CTF 151 will continue to flourish as Commodore Blunden takes command.”
In summary, he added that there has not been a single successful pirate attack during Commodore Qadir’s three-month command tenure.
Key Leader Engagement in the region also plays a significant role in deterring and disrupting piracy. During Commodore Qadir’s period in command, he engaged with 16 key leaders from a variety of government officials and military leaders and visited Oman (Salalah and Muscat), Djibouti, Saudi Arabia (Jeddah) and UAE (Dubai).
Together with specific tasking in the form of a focused operation, conducted off the coast of Yemen to gather pattern of life information off the coast of Mukalla, Commodore Qadir also met with representatives from the Yemeni Embassy, whilst in Muscat.
The outgoing CTF command team included naval officers from Pakistan, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and the United States, all embarked in TCG GOKSU, the Turkish warship that served as the CTF 151 flagship.
Equally impressive, the incoming CTF 151 Command Team comprises officers from the UK, Chile, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
Having recognised the superb work of the outgoing Commodore Qadir and his team, Commodore Blunden said, “My UK led organisation stands ready for the task. It is well trained, well supported and eager to continue with the job of deterring and dealing with acts of piracy and helping to build the capacity of the navies within the region.”
He added, “We look forward to working closely with the CMF staff and alongside our fellow task forces and other independent deployers at sea.”
Although pirate activity has reduced in recent years, this Change of Command ceremony served as a reminder of CMF’s continued commitment to maintaining maritime security on the high seas and eliminating piracy from the region.
CTF 151 is responsible for deterring and disrupting piracy in a huge area of operations, that covers over 2.5 million square miles, including the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Somali Basin.
CTF 151 is part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a professional multinational naval partnership comprising of 29 nations, who focus on maritime security operations and work together to deny the use of the seas for piracy and other illegal activity.