The Republic of Singapore Navy has taken command of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 after conducting a handover ceremony with the Pakistan Navy. CTF 151’s principal mission is to suppress piracy in the maritime environment.
Rear Admiral Cheong Kwok Chien, Republic of Singapore Navy, assumed command of CTF 151 from Rear Admiral Zahid Ilyas, Pakistan Navy, on 31 March 2016 at a ceremony at CMF headquarters in Bahrain. He will lead a multi-national team of over thirty people for three months of counter-piracy operations.
CTF 151 is committed to the disruption of piracy and armed robbery in the maritime environment. 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 151 has been working to deter pirates and smugglers from using the seas as an avenue to gain from crime and illicit activity.
On handing over command Rear Admiral Ilyas said: “Let me say today, we are passing through uncertain and unpredictable times, where diverse threats are posed to the seagoing community on the high seas. Of these, piracy, although low at the moment, continues to present an intricate and extraordinary threat that still impacts on energy security, freedom of navigation and global security and stability. No one nation can resolve this menace, as piracy is a shared challenge which can only be addressed through collaborative and comprehensive interaction and efforts.”
On assuming command, Rear Admiral Cheong said it was a privilege to lead the fourth Singaporean CTF 151 command rotation. He acknowledged the successes of Rear Admiral Ilyas’s team, both at sea and in their active engagement with regional nations.
Rear Admiral Cheong said: “I would like to express my gratitude to CMF for giving Singapore this opportunity to command CTF 151, and a special note of thanks to the various Senior National Representatives who have helped us put together a multi-national team. In addition to my Singaporean staff, we have members from Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.”
He added: “We are honoured to be part of the international effort to keep vital sea lines free from piracy. Over the next three months, our command team will lead coalition forces within CTF 151 to achieve the common mission of deterring and disrupting piracy. This is what we are here for, and this is what we will deliver.”