Between 10-14 July 17, the Commander of CTF 150, Rear Admiral Olivier Lebas travelled to Pretoria and Antananarivo to engage with representatives of the South African and Malagasy Defence Forces, regional maritime security agencies and political bodies.

Key Leadership Engagement (KLE) is an important component of CTF 150’s mission. The engagement facilitates and promotes cooperation with Combined Maritime Forces’ regional partners, which include nations around our Area of Operations that participate in combating terrorist activity and illicit trafficking.

Closer cooperation can include information sharing, capacity building and training exercises between CTF 150 warships and local maritime security forces during port visits.

In Pretoria, Admiral Lebas met with representatives from the regional office of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), an organisation with whom CMF maintains a close relationship. Smuggling patterns and observations in the southern area of the Indian Ocean over the last six months were discussed, and Admiral Lebas updated the office on CTF 150’s recent seizures and successes.

This was followed by a visit to the Joint Operations Headquarters of the South Africa National Defence Forces at Valhalla. The working visit served to increase the understanding and awareness of both parties’ interests and intents over the coming months.

From South Africa, the Commander CTF 150 travelled to the Madagascan capital Antananarivo to engage with the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre, a relatively new agency created to collect and analyse maritime traffic information to create a recognised maritime picture for the region. The visit established a vital line of communication between two organisations with overlapping objectives that can mutually support each other.

The final stop was a meeting with representatives of the Malagasy National Defence Forces, including the Chief of General Staff, Major General Razafindrakotc and Commander of Naval Forces Vice Admiral Ranaivoseheno. Both visits served to improve the Malagasy awareness of CTF 150 operations, and to discuss the current narcotics situation in and around the island of Madagascar.