MANAMA, Bahrain – Pakistan turned over command of a multinational naval task force in the Middle East to Saudi Arabia during a morning ceremony at the U.S. Navy base in Manama, Bahrain, July 21.
Royal Saudi Navy Commodore Abdullah Al-Mutairi assumed command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 from Pakistan Navy Commodore Vaqar Muhammad. Established in 2002, CTF 150 is one of four task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, the largest international naval partnership in the world.
CTF 150 conducts maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman and North Arabian Sea to help ensure the free flow of commerce.
“Working in this unique multinational naval partnership was professionally rewarding and a pleasant experience for me and my team,” said Vaqar. “I express my profound gratitude to the nations which spared their assets and extended all out support during the command tenure to make it a success.”
Vaqar served as CTF 150’s commander since January and led a multinational staff responsible for illicit cargo seizures in regional waters. This year, the task force has interdicted illegal drugs worth an estimated U.S. street value of $200 million so far.
Al-Mutairi has served in the Royal Saudi Navy for 27 years and was most recently the deputy director of operations for Saudi Arabia’s Western Fleet.
“It is a great opportunity to work and represent my country with such a professional and enthusiastic team,” said Al-Mutairi. “My team will continue to strengthen our relationship with our maritime partners, progress our interoperability and provide a robust security presence to some of the world’s most challenging and important international waters.”
This is the third time Saudi Arabia is leading CTF 150.
Combined Maritime Forces includes 34 member nations and is headquartered in Bahrain with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet.