Commodore Keith Blount OBE RN, UK Maritime Component Commander and Deputy Commander, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) visited senior Japanese and Singaporean military leaders and spoke at a Regional Maritime Practitioners’ Course (RMPC) in Singapore. The visits provided the opportunity to discuss each nation’s respective involvement in CMF and the future plans for the multi-national partnership.

(L-R) Colonel Sei Mino, Major General Takayuki Onozuka, Rear Admiral Umio Otsuka, Rear Admiral Hiroshi Yamamura, Commodore Keith Blount, Captain Charles Ashcroft, Major General Toshiyuki Hirukawa, Rear Admiral Kazuki Yamashita.

Commodore Blount explained why this type of engagement is so important. He said: “The ability to discuss the continuing contributions of Japan and Singapore in person was hugely valuable. The ongoing success of these countries in CMF is testament to both their skill and commitment as maritime nations.”

Commodore Blount met with Rear Admiral Hiroshi Yamamura, Director of Defence Plans & Policy, Major General Takayuki Onozuka, Deputy Director of Defence Plans & Policy, Lieutenant General Hiroaki Mehara, Director of Operations and Major General Toshiyuki Hirukawa, Deputy Director of Operations, at the Japanese Ministry of Defence. They discussed the real threat that remains from piracy and the need to be vigilant even though attacks have been successfully deterred in recent years.

Commodore Blount is piped ashore from RSS Supreme.

In Singapore, Commodore Blount met with Rear Admiral Jackson Chia, Head of Naval Operations. They discussed the CMF counter-piracy mission and how the related EU and NATO missions reinforce the importance of continued CMF efforts in the Gulf region.

Following their meeting, Commodore Blount visited Changi Naval Base for a tour of Republic of Singapore Ship (RSS) Supreme, a Formidable class frigate, prior to speaking to junior officers at the RMPC.

Commodore Blount is presented with a gift by Colonel Giam Hock Koon following lunch in the museum at Changi Naval Base in Singapore.

Commodore Blount described the CMF organisation, shared his experiences in conducting maritime security operations and outlined the role of the three Combined Task Forces within CMF. The audience was engaged and asked probing questions about the challenges in managing a 30-nation partnership. They were also interested in the applicability of using the CMF model, an example of a successful maritime partnership, to address challenges in other parts of the globe.