Canada, with support from Australia, completed its fourth command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150) and handed over command to Pakistan.
Commodore Darren Garnier, Royal Canadian Navy, relinquished command to Commodore Alveer Ahmed Noor of the Pakistan Navy during a change of command ceremony held at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain. The ceremony was presided over by Vice-Admiral Jim Malloy, USN the Commander Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
Vice-Admiral Malloy said: “Once again, Canada and Pakistan have committed leadership, talent, experience and forces to CTF 150.” They are among eleven other countries to have been in command of CTF 150.
Through maritime security operations, regional engagements, and capacity building activities, CTF 150 and coalition partners work to deter and deny terrorist organisations any benefits from employing the high seas for smuggling illegal narcotics. This represents a common threat to the security and prosperity of the region. Other member countries that contributed to CTF 150 success during this rotation include Australia, France, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, all working together in direct support in pursuit of CMF goals.
Vice-Admiral Malloy said: “The area of responsibility within the task forces spans over two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman, and includes the critical chokepoints of the Strait of Hormuz, Bab el Mandeb and the Suez Canal. Throughout the years, its legend as an effective and productive team has grown as each nation applied their unique perspective and special talents to operations – planned and executed.”
In December 2018, Royal Navy warship HMS Dragon, broke a record when the ship conducted the largest drug haul in CMF history, seizing and destroying just shy of 10,000 kg of illegal narcotics from two dhows while under CTF 150 command in under 48 hours.
Commodore Garnier said: “The successes we achieved during our deployment was a team effort with our CMF coalition partners. Together, we accomplished regional cooperation and coalition interoperability, while contributing to maritime security by disrupting the use of the high seas as a pathway for illicit activities that is used to fund terrorism.”
CTF 150 successes can also be attributed to the Canadian Armed Forces Unclassified Remote-sensing Situational Awareness (URSA) system, which allows for the download of satellite data directly from commercial satellites, providing up-to-date situational awareness of operational theatres. The system proved to be a valuable asset for CTF 150 in supporting its mission by contributing to building and maintaining situational awareness and patterns of life at sea.
The new commander of CTF 150, Commodore Noor, will continue with the CTF 150 Maritime Security mission. During his incoming speech, he said: “Maritime Security cooperation between relevant stakeholders is the only long term solution to the prevalent threats and challenges in the maritime domain. As CCTF 150, my effort would be to work together with regional states, partners, participating nations, supporting commanders and maritime organizations under the ambit of CMF”
Commodore Garnier concluded: “I’m extremely proud of the hard work, dedication and professionalism demonstrated by our combined Canadian-Australian Task Force over the past five months. Leading people of this calibre is both a privilege and personally rewarding.”
Canada is a member of CMF and has been contributing to CTF 150 through Royal Canadian Navy warships, Royal Canadian Air Force maritime surveillance, and/or staff to operate at CMF Headquarters since the beginning of the partnership in 2002.