On 20th June 2019 the Kuwait Naval Forces handed over command of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 to the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy after conducting a change of command ceremony at CMF Headquarters in Bahrain.

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Captain Alajmi hands over command to Rear Admiral Yu under the watchful eye of Vice Admiral Malloy

The ceremony was presided over by Vice Admiral J. Malloy USN, Commander US Naval Forces Central Command, Commander US Fifth Fleet and Commander Combined Maritime Forces.

In his address to guests from the 33 member countries of CMF, Vice Admiral Malloy said: “Today we celebrate the changing of command of Combined Task Force 151 and really a transition of staffs between two superb Navies, Kuwait and the Republic of Korea.”

He continued: “What you all do every day, what our force does every day, building partnerships, posturing capable naval forces to enhance security and detect, interdict and prevent illegal activity, makes this region safer and more stable.”

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The Kuwait Naval Force with the new Republic of Korea Navy led CTF 151

The principle mission of CTF 151 is to deter and disrupt piracy and armed robbery in the maritime environment. The task force engages with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities. In conjunction with forces from the European Union Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR) and other independent nations, CTF 151 helps patrol the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Basin, and the Maritime Security Transit Corridor, which encompasses the IRTC and extends it through the Bab Al Mandeb into the Southern Red Sea.

Kuwait Naval Forces took over command of CTF 151 in February of this year and during his tenure as commander of CTF 151, Captain Alajmi has led a multinational staff of Kuwaiti, Australian, Bahraini, Brazilian, Omani, Japanese and American personnel. The ceremony on the 20th June marked 118 days of the Kuwait led task force and day 1 of the ROK Navy’s.

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To celebrate the change of command, invited dignitaries cut the cake. L-R: Commander Al-Furaih, Vice Admiral Malloy, Mr Al-Showaib, Captain Alajmi, Rear Admiral Yu, Commadore Bassett

On handing over command, Captain Alajmi said: “It has been an honour to command CTF 151 over the last four months. It has been a privilege for me personally and for the Kuwait Naval Force. Thank you to my team for your high level of professionalism and commitment while assigned to CTF 151. I wish Rear Admiral Yu and his bright and eager staff all the best during their command.”

The ROK Navy have commanded CTF 151 five previous times over the last 10 years and their commitment to CMF and the unhindered transport of commercial goods through the high risk area remains

On assuming command, Rear Admiral Yu said: “As the old proverb says ‘Freedom is not free’. Therefore, as a new commander assuming the prestigious duty of Commander CTF 151, I pledge to devote myself to deterring piracy activity as well as maintaining peace and security that we have forged for the last decade. This CTF 151 command led by the Republic of Korea is now fully prepared to step forward to the common goal as one team.”