In preparation for the transition of leadership from Australia to Great Britain, the current and future Commanders of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) have teamed up to meet key maritime security leaders in the east African nations of Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania.
Commodore Daryl Bates of the Royal Australian Navy will hand over to Commodore Jeremy Blunden of the Royal Navy on 10 April 2014. Recognising the importance of enduring relationships between the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and regional nations, Commodore Bates said that it was essential that CTF 150 delivers a consistent message, regardless of who is at the helm.
“We do not work in isolation. Long-term solutions to maritime security threats, particularly the smuggling of narcotics, are only possible when we work cooperatively with local intelligence, maritime security and law-enforcement agencies. Regular, frank discussions about capabilities, challenges and priorities allow us to collectively shape the future strategy.” said Commodore Bates.
Commodore Blunden cited the Tanzanian Navy’s seizure of 200.5 kg of heroin off the coast of Zanzibar in January as evidence of the counter-narcotics momentum building in the east Africa region.
He said: “Our meeting in Dar es Salaam included representatives from all arms of Defence, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Police, amongst others. Tanzania understands that countering transnational crime, such as the smuggling of narcotics, requires a multi-faceted strategy, across nations and encompassing a range of agencies in each nation. With the enthusiasm obvious in Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya, I am confident that we will continue to maintain the upper hand on those who choose to use the maritime environment as a means to transport narcotics, the proceeds of which support terrorism and violent extremism.”
CTF 150 is one of three task forces commanded by CMF, a multinational naval partnership of 30 nations. CTF 150 exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.