Commander CMF,Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, US Navy (centre) witnesses Royal Navy Commodore Robinson (right) assume command of CTF 150 from Royal Australian Navy Commodore Jaimie Hatcher

The Royal Navy has taken command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) after conducting a handover ceremony with the Royal Australian Navy. CTF 150’s principal mission is to disrupt terrorist organisations and their unlawful activities by restricting freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain.

Commodore Guy Robinson of the Royal Navy assumed command of CTF150 from Commodore Jaimie Hatcher of the Royal Australian Navy on 10 April 2016 in a ceremony held at the CMF headquarters in Bahrain. Commodore Robinson will lead a team comprising personnel from the United Kingdom, United States Navy, and Royal Canadian Navy. For the first time, an officer of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces will be the CTF150 Chief of Staff.

CTF150 has been combating terrorism by tackling the narcotics and weapons smuggling at sea that funds terrorist activities. Its vessels also assist mariners in distress and undertake other humanitarian work as required. For the last four months, under the command of the Royal Australian 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, Commodore Hatcher said: “While HMAS Melbourne had three drug seizures and HMAS Darwin one under this CTF 150 rotation, these seizures were ably supported by a raft of other vessels assigned to CTF 150. The focused operation on the Makran Coast utilising US Patrol Boats; Australian, French, Pakistani, American and British major fleet units and a range of maritime patrol aircraft has paid dividends. Co-ordinating the myriad of assets available to CMF with regional military and law enforcement agencies is key to long term success.”

On assuming command, Commodore Robinson said it was a privilege to lead CTF 150. He acknowledged the successes of Commodore Hatcher’s team, both at sea and in their active engagement with regional Navies.

Commodore Robinson said: “I am hugely grateful for all the hard work done by our Australian and Canadian predecessors and look forward to building on the strong foundations that have already been laid. And, through continued close cooperation with the CMF team, ensuring that our efforts contribute effectively towards the achievement of longer-term objectives.”

He added: “We are looking forward to taking up command of Combined Task Force 150 and to the challenge presented by playing our vital part in turning the tide against those terrorist organisations intent on sowing instability among the international community.”