A team of Australian Navy personnel has taken command of Combined Maritime Forces counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East and northern Indian Ocean regions after conducting a handover ceremony with Pakistan Navy personnel.
Commodore Daryl Bates of the Royal Australian Navy assumed command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 from Commodore Asif Khaliq of the Pakistan Navy on 01 December 2013 at a ceremony onboard the Pakistan Navy Ship Shahjahan in Bahrain.
In a gracious speech, Commodore Khaliq highlighted the successes of his team and the units under his command, which included a 182 kilogram heroin seizure, by the Canadian frigate Toronto; worth an estimated $150 million.
Commodore Khaliq said: “I appreciate the outstanding performance of units under command, who performed their core tasks exceedingly well. It is due to their whole hearted efforts that we have continued to deter terrorists and smugglers from using the maritime domain.”
“Handing over the command of this vibrant maritime force to Commodore Daryl Bates is indeed a matter of great pleasure. I am sure that his command will continue with the finest traditions of the highly professional Navy to which he belongs. I wish him fair winds and following seas.”
The handover ceremony was overseen by Commodore Keith Blount, Royal Navy, Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces. He said: “I am delighted and honoured to be here with you on this fantastic Pakistan Navy warship as we pass the responsibility of command, strengthening our maritime partnership and reiterating to the world our collective commitment to security in this region.
“Commodore Khaliq, today your successful command marks the Pakistan Navy’s sixth time in command of this task force and a decade of continued contributions. Maritime security is a team sport. Task Force 150’s composition is diverse, in fact, this area is so large and the missions so varied, only an absolutely cohesive team could tackle the myriad of requirements and execute them successfully.”
He added: “I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Australia, under the leadership of Commodore Daryl Bates, who will lead CTF 150 from now until April 2014.
I know you are ready for the multitude of challenges ahead and I look forward to watching CTF 150 continue to excel under your steady hand.”
Having recognised the superb work of the outgoing Commodore Khaliq and his team, Commodore Bates said: “It is a privilege to lead the fifth Australian Command of CTF 150. I have always been fascinated by the Middle East region; a part of the world steeped in history and culture.”
“It is a region of significant challenges and complexities, and one which relies on the collective efforts of many navies to ensure the maritime environment is safe for all mariners, safe to undertake the lawful activities at sea.”
CTF 150’s principal mission is to suppress the exploitation of the maritime environment by those with terrorist links. CTF 150 is committed to building maritime counter-terrorism capability in regional navies and to promoting regional security and stability. Its vessels also assist mariners in distress and other humanitarian work as required.
CTF 150 is one of three task forces operated by the Combined Maritime Forces, a 29 nation maritime partnership headquartered in Bahrain. CTF 151 is focused on counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and CTF 152 is focused on maritime security operations in the Gulf.