Author Archives: Combined Maritime Forces

The Marine Nationale’s (MN) FS Guépratte and the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ship HMCS Calgary, prove themselves unrelenting, making four rapid counter-narcotic seizures under CTF-150.    FS Guépratte commenced the successful streak with a seizure of 6,136 lbs (2,784 kg) of hashish on 12 May. HMCS Calgary followed the French frigate’s lead, striking in quick succession on 16, 17 and 18 May, seizing a combined haul of 15,465 lbs (7,015 kg) of hashish, 330 lbs (150 kg) of heroin and 529 lbs (240 kg) of methamphetamine.  The total of the four maritime interdictions has deprived regional terrorist and criminal organizations of over $11.5 million dollars.  “The anti-narcotics operation that we conducted on 12 May went very smoothly thanks to the great responsiveness of the CTF-150 command levels,” said Captain Guilhem Desvignes, commanding officer of the FS Guépratte.  “The professionalism of the crew allowed us to conduct the operation efficiently, despite working…

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After just over four months of command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, the Canadian-led task force has made strong contributions to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) mission to increase regional maritime security and halt illicit smuggling in the Middle East. Since Canada assumed command of CTF-150 on 27 January, 2021, the task force’s counter-narcotics efforts have been substantial. In partnership with navies from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada, CTF-150 has led a total of 26 drug busts. The numbers in terms of total interdictions are impressive: 78,555 lbs (35,632 kg) of hashish; 8,973 lbs (4,070 kg) of heroin; and a stunning 6,762 lbs (3,067 kg) of methamphetamine, a narcotic whose presence is emerging in regional smuggling circuits. Together, these operations have interdicted over $143.6 million dollars of narcotics, the proceeds of which are linked to the financing of regional terrorist and criminal organizations in the…

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Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Calgary rescued a sea turtle in distress while on counter-smuggling patrols in direct support to CMF’s Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) off the coast of Oman. The rescue occurred around 7:30 a.m. on 4 May, after the turtle was spotted by the ship’s Navigating Officer Lieutenant (Navy) (Lt(N)) Evan Park. The turtle was struggling helplessly in netting and other debris that had formed together after being adrift at sea. Lt(N) Park sought approval by the ship’s Commanding Officer Commander (Cdr) Mark O’Donohue to dispatch a small boat team. “It’s unfortunate but we often see debris of this type at sea. I have made it a habit when on watch to take a closer inspection in these situations to see if sea life is in danger, when it’s safe for the ship to do so,” said Lt(N) Park. The small boat team was promptly dispatched, and…

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HMCS Calgary has intercepted four suspicious dhows off the coast of Oman during a string of high-tempo operations, leading to the seizure of illicit narcotics worth over $14.4 million in just three days.  The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) warship conducted three back-to-back drug interdiction operations on 30 April, seizing 15,071 lbs (6,836 kg) of hashish. Calgary’s operational success continued on 2 May, with a high-value interdiction of 1,146 lbs (520 kg) of methamphetamine, 1,378 lbs (625 kg) of hashish and 11 lbs (5 kg) of heroin. This is the latest in a series of six seizures in just seven days made by Calgary whilst in direct support of CMF’s Canadian-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.  “Four more major busts for HMCS Calgary and in only three days. This could not have been done without the incredible around-the-clock effort of the ship’s company and support from Combined Task Force 150,” said…

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Vice Adm. Samuel J. Paparo has formally handed over command of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) to Vice Adm. Brad Cooper in a ceremony held at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, May 5. Paparo, a U.S. naval aviator and Topgun graduate, will assume duties as the 4-star commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT) based in Hawaii. Cooper takes command of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and CMF, having most recently commanded U.S. Naval Surface Force Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia. CMF headquarters – located in Bahrain for 20 – years is the largest naval coalition in the world, with 34 nations partnered and committed to combating counter-piracy, counter-terror and counter illicit trafficking from non-state actors. “CMF works so well because of the relationships between strategic partners, regional forces and international organizations to deliver maritime security operations and to build maritime security across the region,” said Paparo. “We are invested…

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The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ship HMCS Calgary has made the largest ever heroin bust in Combined Maritime Forces history, operating under the command of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.  The record-setting haul of 2,835 lbs (1,286 kg) of heroin on 23 April was achieved seven years to the day since HMAS Darwin interdicted 2,275 lbs (1,032kg) of the drug in 2014. In addition to their record-breaking success, Calgary struck again less than 24 hours later with a second interdiction capturing 794 lbs (360 kg) of methamphetamine.  “I’m speaking for everyone on HMCS Calgary when I say it’s a great feeling to have made two substantial busts so early into our operation,” said the Commanding Officer of Calgary, Commander Mark O’Donohue. “A lot of work and coordination at both the ship level, and throughout Combined Task Force-150, and the CMF coalition goes into our work. It’s fantastic to…

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On April 25, 2021, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) members representing Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, as well representatives from other CMF coalition nations, commemorated the 106th anniversary of Anzac Day with a dawn service conducted at CMF Headquarters, in Bahrain. Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australia and New Zealand against Turkish forces during the First World War. It is one of Australia and New Zealand’s most important national occasions. It is also of significant national meaning for Turkey, as all three nations endured heavy losses during the conflict, when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps set out to capture the Turkish-held Gallipoli Peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the Allied navies.   The CMF ceremony included a speech by Capt Bruce Willington of the Royal Australian Navy, and a reading of Ataturk by Cmdr. Ahmet Istanbul of the Turkish Navy.…

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The Japanese warship Ariake will be heading home after completing five months of counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Led by Commander Naritaka Ezawa, JS Ariake, a Murasame Class Destroyer, has conducted safeguarding duties for hundreds of merchant ships on their transit through the region. Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 Commander, Commodore Abdul Munib SI (M) has offered special thanks to the Ariake for her support to the Task Force’s important mission. During her time in support of CTF-150, JS Ariake participated in additional focused operations to deter piracy activities. The Ariake crew has also engaged in several Passage Exercises, demonstrating their ability to operate alongside warships from other nations.  The ability to operate together, despite a potential language barrier, is key to the success of CTF-151 in combating piracy. The more warships use a common set of standard operating procedures, the greater the flexibility provided at the command…

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Commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, Commodore Abdul Munib SI (M) visited the Chief of Staff of the Sultan’s Armed Forces, Vice Admiral Abdullah Bin Khamis Al Raisi, and the Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman, Rear Admiral Saif Bin Nassir Al Rahbi in Oman.  The meetings, held on 8th April under strict COVID guidelines, included talks around future capacity building and counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden.  All parties were keen to provide complete support for CMF operations. Commander of CTF-151, Commodore Abdul Munib (L) and the Commander of Royal Navy of Oman, Rear Admiral Saif Bin Nassir Al Rahbi (R) discuss mutual interests, maritime security and enhancing cooperation and collaboration between CMF and the Royal Navy of Oman. (Photo: Combined Task Force 151). During their visit, RAdm Al Rahbi praised Cdre Munib on his team’s successful conduct of their recent Focused Operation (FO)…

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French frigate FS Guépratte has seized 1,380 lbs (626 kg) of methamphetamine worth more than $17 million, during the latest Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-narcotics operation in the Arabian Sea, April 9.  After spotting a suspicious vessel whilst on patrol in the Arabian Sea and investigating with the ship’s boarding team, the subsequent search operation uncovered the illicit cargo, which also contained 165 lbs (75 kg) of heroin worth a further $787,500.  “This drug seizure contributes to the high level of achievements performed by French naval forces in the area. It represents another great success against the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs at sea and crowns the efficient and relentless training undertaken by my crew since September,” said Guépratte’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Guilhem Desvignes. “I particularly want to highlight the outstanding cooperation we had with Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 which was key to this significant success.” Operating in direct…

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