Author Archives: Combined Maritime Forces

French frigate FS Dupleix (D641) recently completed two days of maritime security training with Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). The programme involved classroom lectures on boarding techniques, alongside live role plays and practical boarding scenarios, courtesy of the U.S. Coastguard detachment in Bahrain. Experts from the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) were on hand to advise on evidence gathering and handling methods, whilst CMF’s legal team delivered a brief on the complex considerations relating to international maritime law. There were also talks on human factors, such as cultural considerations, conversational skills, body language and deceptive behaviour. Maritime Security Operations (MSO) are undertaken by CMF’s three task forces. Approach and Assist Visits form a key part of ongoing effort to provide assistance to the maritime community and to deter illegal activity, whilst Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) is the procedure by which CMF warships inspect merchant vessels suspected of engaging…

Read more

British Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Victoria (A387), under the command of Captain Rob Dorey, boarded, cleared and destroyed a suspected pirate vessel. Fort Victoria is currently deployed as part of a special counter-piracy operation with HMS Northumberland (F238) in the Somali Basin with Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) mission based counter-piracy task force, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151. Whilst conducting routine patrols off the Somali coast an embarked 820 Squadron Merlin helicopter identified a suspicious whaler towing a skiff. The whaler contained a significant amount of fuel barrels and when approached by the helicopter, four of the nine passengers tried to hide themselves from view. Suspecting that they may have found a Pirate Action Group (PAG), Fort Victoria was granted approval to conduct a boarding by the CTF 151 Commander, Rear Admiral Sinan Ertugrul, Turkish Navy. Royal Marines from the Fleet Protection Group (FPGRM), provide the boarding teams to Fort…

Read more

 The Royal Australian Navy today assumed command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150).Rear Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi SI(M) of the Pakistan Navy was relieved by Commodore Gregory Sammut of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). CTF-150 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 25-nation coalition based in Bahrain. CTF-150 exists to create a lawful and stable maritime environment free from terrorism, smuggling and other illegal activities across an area of two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman. The CTF 150’s principal mission is to deter, disrupt and defeat attempts by international terrorist organizations (ITOs) to use the maritime environment as a venue for an attack or as a means to transport personnel, weapons and other materials. This is done by conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO). CTF-150 vessels also assist mariners in distress and undertake humanitarian work…

Read more

At Sea, Somali Basin – On 28 Sept. 2010, commander, Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), Rear Adm. Sinan Ertugrul of the Turkish Navy, hosted the commander of the European Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), French Rear Adm. Phillipe Coindreau. The ninety minute meeting between the two commanders took place onboard CTF-151 flagship TCG Gokceada, with Coindreau arriving by helicopter from his flagship, French frigate FS De Grasse (D612). The purpose of the meeting was to improve the working relationship between the two maritime forces, deepening understanding and increasing cooperation. “The meeting was very fruitful,” stated Ertugrul after the meeting. “We have both benefited a great deal from this meeting. Both forces are in the region to deal with piracy, and such meetings give us the opportunity to share the burden of such a great task. Today’s meeting reinforces both Task Forces’ commitment to dealing with the global issue of piracy. We have…

Read more

VICTORIA, Seychelles – Turkish warship TCG Gokceada, flagship to Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), recently visited Victoria, Seychelles.  Whilst in port, the ship took the opportunity to host 12 boys and three Foyer De Nazareth Orphanage staff. The boys were given a full tour of the Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, including the bridge, where they got to sit in the captain’s chair. They were told about life at sea and received ship’s souvenirs. Ramus Legaie, an 8-year-old from the orphanage said, “The ship is so big! I got to sit in the Captain’s chair. Today has been a great experience for me. Thank you Gokceada!” Lt Oguz Bastemur, the ship’s Operations Officer, and Lt Okan Sesiguzel, the Weapon Electronics Officer were the ship’s tour guides for the boys’ visit. Bastemur said “It was great to be able show the boys from Foyer De Nazareth around TCG Gokceada. Whenever TCG…

Read more

VICTORIA, Seychelles – Turkish warship TCG Gokceada, flagship to the Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) conducting counter-piracy operations in the Somali Basin, recently arrived in Victoria, Seychelles for a brief port visit. While in port, Rear Admiral Sinan Ertugrul, Commander, CTF-151, took the opportunity to strengthen links with the archipelago nation. At a meeting between Ertugrul and Chief of Defence Staff of the Seychelles, Brigadier Leopold Payet, both men agreed to strengthen ties and mutual cooperation in dealing with piracy. The Somali Basin is a hotspot for piracy, which affects global trade, as well as regional maritime industries. Ertugrul reaffirmed his commitment to the Seychelles during the hour-long meeting stating, “It is my intention to robustly disrupt and deter piracy within the Somali Basin. Such acts not only affect large merchant shipping industries, but also important local and regional maritime activities, such as fishing. I am committed to working ever-closer…

Read more

SOMALI BASIN – Just before midday on Sept. 26, Turkish frigate TCG Gokceada, flagship to the multi-national Combined Task Force 151, successfully disrupted a group suspected of planning an act of piracy. The ship’s helicopter was scanning the southern Somali coast for pirate activity when a suspicious vessel was seen not far from the shore and near a suspected pirate camp, some 100 miles south of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Initial reports from the helicopter crew stated seeing the kind of equipment commonly used by pirates on the vessel. TCG Gokceada’s boarding team was quickly dispatched and boarded the suspicious vessel. The seven-man boarding team found 21 drums of fuel, enough to sustain a small vessel at sea for many days, and a long ladder with hooks (the kind typically used by pirates to board large cargo vessels). Approval was given for the boarding team to transfer the three personnel…

Read more

MANAMA, Bahrain – Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) participated in Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the North Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman from 14 – 17 Sept. 2010. This operation concentrated forces in key areas where illegal activities are most likely to occur on a frequent basis. MSO are conducted under international maritime conventions to deter and disrupt terrorism and other illicit activities in the maritime environment, thereby helping to ensure security, safety and freedom of movement for commercial shipping in international waters. Coalition warships and aircraft from Australia, Pakistan, and the U.S. participated in the operation, together with support from the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), which provided surface and air assets.  Rear Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbassi, SI(M), Commander CTF-150, emphasised building trust and cooperation with lawful maritime operators. Particular attention was also paid to strengthening cooperation with regional partners and to gaining an understanding of the local…

Read more

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – Eight officers from the Royal Thai Navy have arrived at Combined Maritime Forces headquarters, Bahrain, in preparation for the historic deployment of two Thai vessels to the Gulf of Aden. The offshore patrol vessel, HTMS Pattani, and the support ship, HTMS Similan, will conduct counter-piracy operations with Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), currently commanded by Rear Admiral Sinan Ertugrul of the Turkish Navy. The 98-day deployment involves a total of 351 Thai personnel, led by Rear Admiral Chaiyot Sundaranaga. Vice Adm. Mark Fox, Commander CMF, said, “We are delighted that Thailand has joined CMF. Our strength derives from the fact that, as a coalition of the willing, we can achieve more by working together than any single nation or navy could do alone.” CTF-151’s mission is to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy, protecting maritime vessels of any nationality and securing freedom of navigation in the Gulf of…

Read more

Sailors aboard Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and Sailors assigned to “Swamp Foxes” of HSL 44 (Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light) took time to volunteer at Foyer De Nazerath Boys Orphanage during a recent port visit to Victoria, Seychelles. In total, 12 Sailors participated in the community relations project (COMREL) playing basketball and soccer with 12 orphan boys, ranging from ages 6 to 15. “I love giving back to the community, especially overseas” said Aviation Warfare Rescuer 2nd Class (AW) Ryan Quinn. “The highlight of the day was definitely seeing how playing a simple game of basketball lit up the boys’ faces.” Quinn, along with some other HSL 44 Sailors, gave the boys U.S. military patches as souvenirs. Winston S. Churchill baseball caps were also handed out to the boys, in addition to more than 100 books. Yeoman 2nd Class Casey Patterson, currently an Individual Augmentee assigned…

Read more

1030/1039