In June, while sailing in the Gulf of Aden, Capt. René-Jean Crignola, Commander of Combined Task Force 150 (CCTF-150), held a national change of command ceremony aboard the French replenishment oiler FS Var, flag vessel of the Task Force. During this ceremony at sea, Commander (Cdr) Patrick de Sevin relieved Cder Jean-Yves Martin as FS Var new Commanding Officer.
Capt. Patrick de Sevin is taking Var’s command in a particularly intense moment for the crew, who has been deployed in CTF-150 Maritime Security Operations for about three months now. The ship is also hosting the Task Force’s staff, enabling its members to get accurate maritime situational awareness, being at the heart of operations. This is relatively uncommon, as the other nations are usually commanding ashore, from the coalition headquarters in Bahrain.
The new Commanding Officer, who was previously assigned on various French Battleships (Air-Defence frigate, Aviso, Anti-submarine frigate, etc.), will now be in charge of an auxiliary ship which can conduct two kinds of missions: as a supply ship, she can provide logistic support for French and allied carrier or battle groups; as a flagship, she can embark a Commander and his staff.
While addressing the crew members during the change of command ceremony, Cdr de Sevin declared: “This is a mission of serving the naval and maritime community which must be more than ever the raison d’être for FS Var, as it is the case for several months now with our hosting CTF-150 Commander and staff onboard and participating in the Task Force’s operations”.
France is currently assuming command of the Task Force for the ninth time since its launch in 2001, after the
9/11 attacks in New York, to fight terrorism. CTF-150 is a multinational maritime task force command of which is rotated between participatory nations on a four to six month basis. It is one of the three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces, with CTF-151, responsible for counter-piracy and CTF-152, responsible for security and cooperation in the Arabian Gulf.
The Task Force’s mandate is about promoting the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment by countering terrorist acts and related illegal activities, used by terrorists to fund their operations or conceal their movements. CTF 150‘s Area of Operation spans over two million square miles and includes some of the world’s most important and busiest shipping lanes, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Western Indian Ocean