The Commander of the Danish Task Group has taken command of Combined Maritime Forces counter-piracy operations in the Middle East after conducting a handover ceremony with the UK led Navy personnel.
Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, Royal Danish Navy, Commander Danish Task Group assumed command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 from Commodore Jeremy Blunden of the UK Royal Navy on 12 December 2013 at a ceremony in the CMF Headquarters in Bahrain.
Commodore Blunden highlighted the successes of his team and the units under his command. These included the successful apprehension of a pirate group off the coast of Somalia, 122 boarding operations and around 850 hours flown by force aircraft in the course of its mission to promote maritime security.
Commodore Blunden said: “It has been a great honour for me to command Combined Task Force 151 and to work in this unique multinational forum. I want to express my very sincere thanks to my team for their help and support and for doing the hard work. My thanks also go to the staff in CMF and the various task forces who have provided us with such strong support.
He added: “I offer my very best wishes to Commodore Jensen and his team as he assumes the mantle once again. I am very much a fan of the CMF construct, of this unique maritime partnership, this collective contribution of ready, capable maritime forces and this commitment of helping to provide security and stability in the maritime environment.”
The handover ceremony was overseen by Vice Admiral John Miller, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces. He said: “I am delighted and honored to be here as we not only pass the responsibility of command from one commander to another, but as we strengthen our maritime partnership and reveal to the world our collective commitment to security in this region. The Royal Navy has been with CMF since the start, and has commanded other task forces previously, but today marks the completion of their first command of CTF 151.”
He added: “Commodore Jensen is also an accomplished sailor, naval officer, and leader. He previously commanded this same CTF in 2012. He did so well that we decided to ask him back for a repeat performance. Today’s ceremony marks the Royal Danish Navy’s third command of a CMF task force and second command of this task force.
Having recognised the superb work of the outgoing Commodore Blunden and his team, Commodore Jensen said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be handed over the command of Combined Task Force 151, a respected contributor to counter piracy operations. This is my second tour as commander of CTF 151 and I am pleased to see that progress has been made in many areas.”
He added: “The CTF151 units and staff will be ready to meet the challenges shoulder to shoulder. I thank you all for entrusting me with your fine units and personnel, without whom the mission would fail. What we set out to achieve is important and vital to all contributing nations, as our prosperity, welfare, and security are dependent upon safe transit through the region.”
CTF 151’s mission is to deter, disrupt and thwart acts of piracy. It is a multinational maritime task force that conducts counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
CTF 151 is one of three task forces operated by the Combined Maritime Forces, a 29 nation maritime partnership headquartered in Bahrain. CTF 150 conducts maritime security operations mainly in the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities. CTF 152 is focused on security cooperation activities with regional partners inside the central Gulf region.