The Combined Maritime Force’s counter-piracy task force, Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) is set to change command from the Turkish Navy to the Pakistan Navy in December.

Ahead of the handover, the current commander of the task force, Rear Admiral Nejat Inanir from the Turkish Navy, and the incoming commander, Commodore Abdul Munib from the Pakistan Navy, discussed the intricacies of the command, including how to address some of the restrictions caused by Covid-19 and the importance of engaging with regional key leaders.

“I am really enjoying my command here at CTF 151.It is amazing to conduct counter-piracy operations in this region with my staff from nine different nations,” said Rear Admiral Nejat Inanir. “My team is working hard to prepare a smooth handover for you,” he added.

Radm Inanir emphasized the importance of having an international composition in CTF 151, with the skillset provided by a variety of countries. He shared the future vision and concept of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and how Pakistan will facilitate that vision. The two leaders also discussed the importance of maintaining strong relationships with the regional powers and organisations who address the piracy issue in the Gulf of Aden.

Pakistan have been a longstanding supporter of CMF, having also commanded the counter terrorism task force (CTF 150) eleven times. The Navy commits both warships and maritime patrol aircraft to the region, providing invaluable assets to help suppress piracy in the Gulf of Aden and interdicting merchant ships smuggling narcotics across the Indian Ocean.

Commodore Abdul Munib SI (M) knows CMF well, having served in Bahrain as the Pakistan Senior National Representative previously. His understanding of CMF procedures will prove invaluable and help his command hit the ground running.

“I hope to serve with the same devotion and dedication as you, and I look forward to meeting you properly in Bahrain. I’m aware of the challenges of coordinating so many different nations in order to combat piracy,” said Cdre Abdul Munib.

“Congratulations on a successful mission, delivered by so many hard working staff. I consider myself lucky to be taking over from a Turkish brother,” he added.

The Turkish tenure has been a successful one, contributing to absence of any successful piracy attacks in the region over the past three year period. Around 21,000 merchant ships transit through the Gulf of Aden every year, which is around 20% of the world’s sea trade, marking the importance of maintaining maritime security in the region.

The handover will be marked by an official change of Command ceremony in December, and will see Pakistan assuming command of the task force for a record ninth time.