PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                                       8 Dec 16

Pakistan hands over to Canada at CTF 150 Change of Command Ceremony

Canada has taken command of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 after conducting a change of command ceremony with the Pakistan Navy today.

Commodore Haydn C. Edmundson of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) assumed command of CTF 150 from Commodore Bilal Abdul Nasir of the Pakistan Navy (PKN) at a ceremony at Naval Central Command, Bahrain. The ceremony was presided over by Vice Admiral Kevin M Donegan USN, Commander US Naval Forces Central Command, Commander US Fifth Fleet and Commander Combined Maritime Forces. His Excellency the Ambassador of Pakistan to Bahrain Mr Javed Malik and His Excellency the Ambassador of Canada to Bahrain Mr Denis Horak were in attendance. Commodore Nasir’s wife Nahide and family were also present.

CTF 150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organisations and their unlawful activities by restricting freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain.  The vast Area of Operations (3.2 million square miles) means that collaboration with regional and other partners is vital for successful CMF operations. Recent regional events have demonstrated that conflict on land can spread into the maritime domain and Commodore Nasir ensured at all times that CTF 150 remained flexible and at high state of readiness to assist shipping in whatever capacity necessary.

Highlights of Pakistan’s time in command of CTF 150 have included several successful exercises and friendly cross-pollinations with CMF member nations and independent navies, including China, and in directing multiple successful interceptions and searches of vessels of interest. Commodore Nasir has recently strengthened CMF’s good relationship with high profile visits to Egypt, Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His faith in CMF and tireless promotion of the vital role that CMF plays has raised awareness amongst those he met of CMF’s mission and its contribution to maritime security operations. In his farewell address to CMF Commodore Nasir said, “We confront today’s challenges and threats boldly together. This is our strength. The values we share and vision we hold is noble. We must defend them for the betterment of the entire international community.” Cdre Nasir also established communications between CMF and the Joint Maritime Information Centre and the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency which will enhance any future operations.

During the next four months Commodore Edmundson (RCN), supported by members of the Royal Australian Navy, will lead a multi-national team to deter unlawful activity and reassure those who ply the seas legitimately and facilitate the free flow of commerce across his area of operations.

On assuming command, Commodore Edmundson said it was a privilege to lead the Canadian CTF 150 command rotation. He praised the successes of Commodore Nasir’s team, both at sea and in their active engagement with regional nations and addressed his predecessor warmly, “To Commodore Nasir, congratulations and thank you to you and your staff for your strong leadership of CTF 150. The successes of your tenure of command are in good hands, and I assure you that the hard work you and your team have accomplished will continue. Canada now has the helm.”

He added, “The Canadian Armed Forces is excited to bring some innovative ideas and capabilities to support CTF 150 and the broader CMF mission and we intend to promote the increased sharing of information among CMF’s maritime security partners in the region.”

Not only does CTF 150 synchronise its efforts with other organizations, it also works closely with a number of independent nations patrolling the vast expanse of water in the Area of Operations. Additionally and notably seen most recently off Socotra, CTF 150 units also assist mariners in distress and conduct other humanitarian work as required.

Marines Band Corps of Drums Proud members of the Pakistan Navy team who have now handed over  CTF 150 to the Royal Canadian Navy