The Royal Australian Navy has taken command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) after conducting a handover ceremony with the Pakistan Navy. CTF 150’s principal mission is to suppress the exploitation of the maritime environment by those with terrorist links.
Commodore Jaimie Hatcher of the Royal Australian Navy assumed command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 from Rear Admiral Muhammad Moazzam Ilyas of the Pakistan Navy on 8 December 2015 at a ceremony at CMF headquarters in Bahrain. He will lead a team of 17 Royal Australian Navy, one Australian Army, one Defence civilian, one Australian Federal Policeman and seven Canadian Navy personnel, for almost five months of operations.
CTF 150 is committed to building maritime counter-terrorism capability in regional Navies and to promoting regional security and stability. Its vessels also assist mariners in distress and other humanitarian work as required. For the last four months, under the command of the Pakistan Navy, CTF 150 has been working to deter terrorists and smugglers from using the seas as an avenue to finance crime and terrorist activity.
Passing over command, Rear Admiral Ilyas said: “By its very nature, the threat of terrorism transcends national boundaries and requires a combined response from stakeholders. CMF has proven that this provides a framework to ensure global and regional maritime security while acknowledging the individual concerns and sensitivities of member countries. In my opinion, the unity in diversity and the willingness of the nations is the real strength of the coalition and this provides the commanders of the CTFs a unique opportunity to command a rainbow of sea platforms and staff.”
On assuming command, Commodore Hatcher said it was a privilege to lead the seventh rotation of Australians and the sixth Australian Command of CTF 150. He acknowledged the successes of Rear Admiral Ilyas’s team, both at sea and in their active engagement with regional Navies.
Commodore Hatcher said: “Upon the impressive operational platform laid by Rear Admiral Ilyas and his predecessors, our mission will be to further degrade the use of the maritime environment by terrorists and those who support terrorism in the Middle East and west Indian Ocean maritime regions.”
He added: “Operating within a diverse group of nations in the Combined Maritime Forces is a privilege and there is much we are able to learn from each other. It is impossible to agree on everything, however, we all understand the importance of maritime security and the flow of legitimate trade upon the seas.”