Rear Adm. Nejat Inanir of the Turkish Navy has formally handed-over command of Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) Combined Task Force 151 to Commodore Abdul Munib of the Pakistani Navy, in a special ceremony held at the US Navy’s NAVCENT headquarters in Bahrain, Dec. 9.
This concludes Turkey’s sixth command of CTF-151.
Formed in 2009, CTF-151 this maritime defence force is primarily dedicated to the deterrence, disruption and suppression of piracy and armed robbery at sea, and to engage with regional and other partners to strengthen relevant capabilities in the Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin and the Indian Ocean.
RAdm Inanir praised the international nature of the Task Force, citing this as the main reason for its ongoing success. “We have a truly international blend of staff from 10 countries, each bringing their own culture and experience to our task force,” he said.
“The wide range of strengths and different approaches to operations is one of the many things that makes us strong and I look forward to the future with great optimism […] Clear from the start of my command was the critical joint effort between the military and maritime industry in countering the determined pirate. The SHADE [Shared Awareness and De-confliction] conference allowed us to re-enforce the importance of sharing information to increase risk awareness,” RAdm Inanir added.
Vice Adm. Samuel Paparo, Commander of Combined Maritime Forces, who presided over the ceremony, reflected on the success of CTF-151 under RAdm Inanir’s leadership.
“Focus Operation SHAMAL was a resounding success, not only meeting the mission requirements of deterring piracy through a massive influx of air and sea assets, but also providing a valuable opportunity to bolster our relationships with our partnerships,” said Vice. Adm. Paparo. “This operation, made more difficult due to health and asset constraints, not only deterred piracy and provided the necessary practice for our allies, but most certainly increased our partnership capabilities well into the future… Turkey should be exceptionally proud of your service to the stability of this region.”
Closing his speech, RAdm Inanir spoke warmly of his successor; “Commodore Munib, as I hand over to you, I wish you and your bright and eager staff all the best during your tenure, and very much look forward to hearing of your great success in command of CTF151. We regard you as brothers and it is a great pleasure to hand over a strong and successful task force to a brother.”
Pakistan Navy will lead CTF-151 for the next six months, alongside CTFs 150 and 152, which are currently led by the Royal Saudi Navy and the Saudi Border Guard respectively. Though the 33-nation group that makes up the Combined Maritime Forces is headquartered in Bahrain, their activities spread as far as Suez in the northwest and far down into the Indian Ocean.
“Ever since inception of CTF-151, Pakistan Navy has been an active member of the Naval Coalition by providing ships and aircrafts sorties from time to time to counter the menace of Piracy in the region,” said Commodore Munib at the event. “[Maritime security] remains vital to ensure free flow of trade and maritime activities to maintain global peace and prosperity.”
Attending the changeover ceremony were His Excellency Mr Afzaal Mahmood, Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Kingdom of Bahrain; His Excellency Mr Kemal Demirciler, Ambassador of Turkey; Rear Adm. Mohammad Yousif Al-Asam, Commander of the Royal Bahrain Naval Force, as well as numerous senior officers from coalition militaries.