Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) has appointed a new Commander from the United Kingdom, following a change of command ceremony held at the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain on 24 May 2018.


L-R – Cdre Steve Moorhouse RN, Cdre Mal Wise RAN and VAdm Scott Stearney USN cut the ceremonial change of command cake.

Commodore (Cdre) Steve Moorhouse, Royal Navy relieved Cdre Mal Wise of the Royal Australian Navy at a ceremony attended by VIPs from a number of different nations, overseen by the Commander Combined Maritime Forces, Vice Admiral (VAdm) Scott Stearney, United States Navy. Given the marked successes of the Australian-led CTF 150 over the last 5 months, Cdre Moorhouse’s team have considerable shoes to fill. His predecessor achieved 19 successful drugs busts at sea in the area known as the ‘Hash Highway’ around the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean, in total worth approximately 2.2 Bn USD street value. As monsoon season approaches, boarding suspect vessels will be increasingly dangerous due to the height of the waves, but the numbers of dhows crossing the Indian Ocean will also decrease.

CTF 150, established in 2002, is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organisations and unlawful activities by restricting freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain. In collaboration with regional and global partners, CTF 150 promotes maritime security by denying terrorist organisations their ability to move personnel, weapons or drugs on the high seas; thus obstructing their capacity to raise funds.


The outgoing CTF150 team led by Cdre Mal Wise (centre) with V Adm Scott Stearney, Commander of the CMF and Cdre Steve Dainton, Deputy Commander of the CMF.

The new CTF150 command team is known as a ‘rainbow’ team, where although the United Kingdom have the lead, they are supported by officers and sailors from Canada, France and New Zealand. Speaking to the audience on taking command, Cdre Moorhouse said: “Our ambition over the next few months, is to not only seize opportunities, but also to create them. As part of the CMF family we will engage with international partners, encourage regional cooperation and support capacity building.”


The incoming CTF150 team led by Cdre Steve Moorhouse, with VAdm Scott Stearney, Commander of the CMF and Cdre Steve Dainton, Deputy Commander of the CMF.

VAdm Stearney said: “Commodore Moorhouse is a highly respected Royal Navy officer, with the impressive credentials I require in a CMF task force commander. With extensive sea duty experience, keen leadership and tactical foresight, I know that Commodore Moorhouse will lead CTF 150 with the same zeal as his predecessor. I have every faith and confidence that his team will be as successful in protecting this great region’s maritime traffic and international waterways.”

Cdre Moorhouse joined the Royal Navy in 1991, qualifying as a helicopter observer, and has subsequently commanded a variety of Royal Navy vessels, including the previous UK flagship HMS OCEAN.