On 5 December 2014, the French frigate Guépratte sailed out of the Suez Canal into the Red Sea, ready and willing to support Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-terrorism operations under Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150).
“The Guépratte is very proud to participate once more in this multinational maritime coalition over the next few months”, said the Captain Benoît Hédé-Haüy, the ship’s commanding officer. “We are fully committed to play a part within the CTF-150 team, to deepen the coalition’s knowledge and understanding of how terrorist organisations use the seas to finance their activities in the region, and to promote the maritime security and regional cooperation with the neighbouring countries and partners.”
For this mission, Guépratte’s crew have four goals: gathering and sharing knowledge with regional allies and partners; being a significant player in CTF-150’s maritime security operations; promoting France’s participation through bilateral actions; and succeeding in what’s expected of her during this vital mission for the global safety and security in the region.
The warship’s crew and particularly her boarding team are fully prepared to disrupt illegal use of the seas by criminals. The Panther helicopter and her air department stand by to support maritime security operations by enabling the ship to act more quickly and have an effect further away, as well as facilitating approaches to suspicious or dangerous vessels.
As part of the overall CMF team, the Guépratte is also prepared to respond to environmental and humanitarian crises at sea and ashore if necessary.
Through maritime security operations and regional engagements, CTF-150 deters and denies terrorist organisations the use of merchant shipping lanes for smuggling weapons, illicit cargo and narcotics while ensuring the safe passage of merchant ships in some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Over the last year alone, CTF-150 units have denied international terrorist networks access to millions of dollars from trafficking by seizing and destroying close to 22,000kg of a variety of illegal narcotics.