In June 2015, French Ship (FS) Var, which is hosting CTF-150 commander Captain Crignola and his staff, stopped in Jeddah for a three days port visit. This was the opportunity for Captain Crignola to meet with several representatives from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Navy, as part of a regional engagement program to improve maritime security in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) operational area.

Capt Crignola, Commander CTF 150 with RAdm Ali Al Amri, Jeddah Naval Base Commander and Interim Commander of the Royal Saudi Navy Forces West Fleet.

Captain Crignola was received by Rear Admiral Ali Al-Amri, interim Commanding Officer of the Royal Saudi Navy West Fleet, at West Fleet headquarters in Jeddah. The welcome was warm and the discussion was very open. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in command of CTF-152, the Task Force responsible for conducting Maritime Security Operations inside the Gulf, and provides several staff officers in CMF headquarters in Bahrain, who’s aim is to contribute to the regional maritime security. Due to its geographical location, CMF generally interacts with the Saudi East fleet, situated in Jubail and the contacts with the Western fleet are less frequent. Thus, this meeting was also the occasion to see how to enhance the cooperation between both partners.

Captain Crignola also had the opportunity to visit the Saudi ship Al Damman, and the new Naval Tactical Training Center, dedicated to continuous training of Saudi crews. He was received by Commodore Saleh Al-Ghamdi, frigate group commander, Captain Saleh Al-Amri, Al Damman frigate Commanding Officer, and Captain Said Al Sharani, Security School Director. These meetings were the opportunity for conversations regarding CTF-150 missions in the region.

CTF-150 is responsible for conducting regional engagements and capacity building activities to constantly improve interoperability between all partners as well as to help regional navies and security agencies to improve their readiness and maritime security capabilities.

It is one of three naval task forces operated by CMF, which is a multinational naval partnership of 30 nations. 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, which terrorists use 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.