Between mid-June and early July, French Ship Var, Combined Task Force 150 flag ship, made two port visits in Djibouti. These stops were the opportunity for the ship to conduct common training activities with the Djiboutian Navy as well as with the French Forces located in the country. It was also the occasion for Captain René-Jean Crignola, Commander CTF150, to meet with high level representatives, as part of CMF regional engagement program.
On the 7th of July, Capt. René-Jean Crignola, French Navy, Commander Combined Task Force 150, met with Mr Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, Djiboutian Minister for Foreign Affairs. Captain Crignola took this opportunity to present CTF-150 missions. He also thanked Djibouti for their contribution to Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), with the recent decision to send a Liaison Officer to CMF headquarters in Bahrain, which illustrates Djiboutian involvement in regional maritime security. The Djiboutian minister highlighted that his country had a huge interest in CMF missions, especially for CTF150 and CTF151 operations in Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb, which had a real impact on the regional stability. Both authorities also discussed issues of mutual interest such as the use of maritime space by International Terrorist Organizations to support their activities in the region, drug smuggling, as well as illegal trafficking between Yemen and Somalia. They also explored ways to deepen cooperation between CMF and Djibouti.
Located at the strategic chokepoint of Bab-el-Mandeb, Djibouti has a key role to play in regional maritime security. As a matter of fact, the strait is a strategic link between Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, with an estimated 3.3 million barrels of oil passing through the strait per day, as well as an important part of the maritime world trade. Given its location the country is deeply concerned with regional security.
On July, the 7th, several CCTF150 staff officers visited United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) division in Djibouti. They met with Ms Valerie Cliff, United Nations Resident Coordinator & Resident Representative of the UNDP. This provided CTF150 members with the opportunity to get the UN assessment of security and humanitarian issues in the region and to receive a presentation of UN activities especially in Yemen and Somalia.
Earlier in June, FS Var had already done a port visit in Djibouti, giving the opportunity for the crew to conduct common training with the Djiboutian Navy, as well as with the French Forces located in the country. As an example, a French medical crew led training simulating a diving accident with divers from the Djiboutian Navy. The French crew also led several aerial manoeuvres and anti-aircraft training with French aircraft and Gazelle helicopters.
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. 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.