Ambassadors and Senior Representatives from countries contributing to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) mission joined Vice Admiral John W Miller, Commander CMF, and Commodore Keith Blount OBE Royal Navy, his Deputy Commander, for the inaugural CMF Ambassadors Day on 24 November.
The distinguished guests from 22 of CMF’s 30 member nations met at the organisation’s headquarters in Manama, Bahrain, to hear about the range of activities undertaken by the naval and air units provided by countries to operate in the Indian Ocean and around the Arabian Peninsula.
In his opening address, Vice Admiral Miller thanked all those attending, saying that the Ambassadors Day provided an opportunity to promote what CMF does in the region and to demonstrate to senior representatives from CMF member nations exactly what the 30-nation coalition uses naval and air units for.
“CMF was originally created to act in a Counter Terrorism role following 9/11. In the subsequent years, both its role and structure have developed, taking on Maritime Security and Counter Piracy”.
The success of the Counter Piracy operation was emphasised by Vice Admiral Miller with the fact that no successful pirate attack has taken place since May 2012.
Over the course of the day, Ambassadors and senior representatives were given informative briefings, a tour of CMF Headquarters and an opportunity to discuss CMF’s achievements with CMF staff over a working lunch. The distinguished guests also took part in a discussion about CMF’s future aspirations.
Commodore Blount explained the many functions that CMF carries out throughout the region, explaining that, for its variety, CMF was not just a job to him but a real passion:
“All contributing nations operate within the organisation under their own national guidelines. That is CMF’s strength and sets it apart from naval activity anywhere in the world. CMF consists of a variety of nations united in a common objective.”
“CMF also has a role in regional capacity building and crisis response. This was recently highlighted when CTF-151 coordinated the rescue of eight mariners after their ship sank in the Gulf of Aden.”
His Excellency Dr Dhafer Al Umran, Bahrain’s Assistant Under Secretary for the GCC and Western Countries, replied on behalf of the Ambassadors, thanking the CMF staff for providing a detailed series of presentations about what CMF does:
“Bahrain is pleased to host CMF in Manama because of the humanitarian work it carries out in the region alongside its work countering piracy.”
The Assistant Under Secretary said of his visit:
“It is a good start for building our understanding of CMF, and I look forward to more opportunities in future.”