Commodore Ali Abbas of the Pakistan Navy has handed over command of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-piracy operations in the Middle East to Rear Admiral Cho Young Joo, Republic of Korea Navy, at a ceremony held on 12 June 2014 in Bahrain.
Commodore Abbas said: “It has been indeed a great honour and privilege for me to command CTF-151 and be part of the International coalition working together to fight against the menace of piracy on the high seas, and contributing towards the security and stability of the region. I sincerely thank all those who supported me and my team in ensuring the zero piracy rate within the CMF area of responsibility throughout our tenure, which is indeed a matter of immense professional satisfaction to me.”
He noted that Pakistan joined CMF in 2004 and recognised his country’s responsibility for contributing to regional peace and stability as a maritime nation and added: “Today the Pakistan Navy is completing its fifth command tenure of CTF-151 and will next be taking on its seventh command of CTF-150 in August.”
Vice Admiral John W. Miller, Commander Combined Maritime Forces, oversaw the handover ceremony. He noted the continuing success of CTF 151 under Commodore Abbas’ leadership and said: “You may recall that Commodore Abbas and his team had quite a first day. Midday on Friday, the 28th of February 2014, the Master of a Japanese ship was convinced he was under pirate attack by two skiffs. He issued a distress call while quickly closing toward the coast of Oman. The new commander of CTF-151 scrambled the Australian frigate HMAS Darwin to close on the ship’s location. A Pakistan Navy maritime patrol aircraft quickly reached the scene and established communications with ship’s Master.It was a remarkable demonstration of real-time cooperation and coordination, in rapid response mode.”
He added, “Simply put, your work here has been fantastic. You do your nation and your Command great credit. I cannot imagine a CMF without the outstanding contributions across the spectrum from Pakistan.”
Vice Admiral Miller also noted he was very much looking forward to working with Rear Admiral Cho Young Joo, the incoming Commander of CTF-151. He said: “This region is very familiar to you, Admiral. You have led here before with Operation Dawn of Gulf of Aden in 2011 and you bring an outstanding balance of policy and warfighting mastery to CMF.”
Rear Admiral Young Joo recognised Commodore Abbas’ successes and efforts from his period in command of CTF-151 and committed to maintaining the current level of effort and pro-active engagement with the Gulf nations. With a Combined Task Force that includes personnel from Australia, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States, Rear Admiral Young Joo noted: “The sea makes us one, so let’s go together.”