Royal Australian Navy Commodore (CDRE) Ray Leggatt, Commander of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) paid a visit to Vice Admiral (VA) Didier Maleterre, Joint Commander of French Forces in the Indian Ocean at his headquarters in Abu Dhabi. 

CDRE Leggatt made the call on VA Maleterre in order to express his gratitude for the support provided to CTF 150 by the Marine Nationale ship FS Courbet and discuss maritime security in the region.

Since the Royal Australian Navy assumed command of CTF 150 in early December 2019, FS Courbet, working in direct support, has conducted three very successful boarding operations on suspicious dhows in their area of operations. FS Courbet’s boarding team, including their drug detecting dog, have intercepted a total of 8 tonnes of hashish with an estimated regional wholesale value of $4.1million USD.

CTF 150 is one of three task forces operating under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a multinational naval partnership that exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes. The 33 nations that comprise CMF, including Australia and France, share intelligence, assets and capabilities.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the support given to CTF 150 by the Marine Nationale and FS COURBET,” said CDRE Leggatt. “The crew of COURBET have consistently delivered terrific results, costing a great deal of money to the terrorists and other malign actors in the region.”

During the meeting, VA Maleterre and CDRE Leggatt discussed upcoming opportunities to continue the successes of the past months and the challenges to maritime security in a very complex environment where illegitimate activity is sometimes hard to distinguish from legitimate trade.

“The Arabian Sea is one of the most strategically important pieces of water in the world,” said VA Maleterre. “Working together with like-minded navies, both regionally and internationally, is key to providing security and stability to this critical territory.”

After the meeting, CDRE Leggatt returned to Naval Support Activity Bahrain. The Australian led rotation of CTF 150, supported by members of the Royal Canadian and Royal New Zealand navies will continue until late March when France will assume command.