Category Archives: Combined Maritime Forces

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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Egypt has become the 34th member of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), April 12. CMF is an enduring multinational coalition committed to upholding the International Rules Based Order by countering illicit non-state actors on the high seas and promoting security, stability and prosperity. Vice Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. 5th Fleet and CMF, welcomes Egypt’s membership while visiting Alexandria. “Today is a historic moment as Egypt enters into our enduring coalition,’ said Paparo. “Egypt is an important partner in ensuring stability in the region, and we are honored to welcome Egypt’s partnership in our mission focused on making the region and world a safer place.” CMF’s area of operations encompasses some of the world’s most important shipping lanes with more than 3 million square miles of international waters, including the key chokepoints of the Suez Canal, Bab al Mandeb and Straits of Hormuz. “Egypt brings a…

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French Marine Nationale ships have achieved an impressive five seizures of illicit drugs in just six days, whilst participating in a counter-narcotics focused operation under the command of Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) Canadian-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150. The noteworthy successful run began on March 19, when the French frigate FS Nivôse intercepted a high-value shipment of 809 lbs (367 kg) of methamphetamine and 685 lbs (311 kg) of heroin. This was swiftly followed by two concurrent counter-narcotics operations on March 22 by FS Tonnerre and FS Surcouf, which resulted in interdictions of over 6,600 lbs (3,000 kg), and 1,300 lbs (600 kg) of hashish respectively. Barely 48 hours later, helicopter carrier Tonnerre was back at it with a flourish, seizing a massive 7,055 lbs (3,200kg) of hashish. A concurrent counter-narcotic success at sea by FS Nivôse followed quickly behind, with the crew interdicting a further 2,425 lbs (1,100kg) of…

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Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi visited Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) headquarters in Bahrain, March 15. During the visit he met with Commodore Abdul Munib SI (M), the Pakistan Navy Commander of CTF-151, and Royal Navy Commodore Ed Ahlgren, deputy commander of CMF, to discuss Pakistan’s contribution to the enduring CMF partnership, and the ongoing success in deterring piracy from the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. In the past year, there have been no successful piracy attempts on merchant vessels in the CTF-151 area of operations; no mean feat given the vast area of water covered. “CMF works so well because of the relationship between strategic partners, regional forces and international organizations to deliver maritime security operations and to build maritime security across the region,” said Ahlgren. “This in turn will benefit the overall commercial and military shipping industry by helping to safeguard…

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Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose has struck for a third time in less than five weeks. In an operation lasting 10 hours, the Montrose intercepted over 6100 lbs (2800 kg) of hashish and 110 lbs (50 kg) of heroin in the Arabian Sea, March 12, 2021. The boarding team from the ship, operating in direct support of CMF’s Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) seized the drugs – with a combined estimated wholesale value of over $4.5 million – following searches of suspicious vessels whilst undertaking a counter-narcotics patrol. This latest successful interdiction has further deprived criminal and terrorist networks of their ability to finance their operations through the transport and sale of illicit cargo.  HMS Montrose Commanding Officer, Commander Ollie Hucker said; “It is purely coincidental that this operational success falls on my last day at sea in Command. Be it the first day or the last day, these results…

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Two submariners currently serving as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force 150 discovered an unusual connection with CMF’s Deputy Commander when they realized they had served on the very same submarine, but several years apart. Lt(N) Devin Matthews and PO1 Patrick Cooper-Mayer of the Royal Canadian Navy, were posted to the HMCS Windsor in 2005, where both sailors started their training and were soon awarded their dolphins, the coveted symbol of the submarine service. But HMCS Windsor was not always a Canadian submarine. In 1998, Canada purchased four Upholder Class diesel-electric submarines from the Royal Navy. One of these, HMS Unicorn, was where the now-Deputy Commander of Combined Maritime Forces, Commodore Ed Ahlgren, served and qualified as a submariner in the early 90s. Having come across Cmdre Ahlgren’s biography, both Matthews and Cooper-Mayer realized that they had a collective naval link with their Royal Navy colleague.…

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Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) Ottaviano ‘Otto’ Cortellessa joined the Italian Marina Militare in April 1989 and is currently serving as a Senior Watchkeeper with CMF. A wide-ranging career has seen Otto working all over the world, including stints in Belgium with NATO, in Egypt, back home in Italy and now here in Bahrain, and that’s just the past ten years. As a specialist in N6 (communications), Otto’s responsible for maintaining an efficient and accurate flow of information to the Senior Watch Officers and Battle Watch Captains; a 24/7 requirement that’s crucial to the operational success of CMF. Speaking about his deployment so far, he said; “Here I work in a completely different job than my Italian background. [CMF] is one of the most diverse military working environments, with many different cultures and ways of life. “Most interesting is to be able to experience how other nations work and how…

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CTF-151 Commander Commodore (Cdre) Abdul Munib SI (M) recently held a video teleconference with the Commander of EUNAVFOR’s Task Force-465 (TF-465), Commodore Diogo Arroteia. While Cdre Munib was at CMF HQ in Bahrain, Cdre Arroteia was operating from the Spanish frigate Reina Sofía, as they actively conduct counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. Cdre Munib thanked Cdre Arroteia for his continuous support in providing TF-465 ships and maritime patrol aircraft; “We have been supporting each other well out at sea to maintain our force flow and respond to maritime security events. We need to maintain this coordination in the future as well.” “Together, we need to keep our guard up for any suspicious activity out at sea and relay information to all stakeholders; the area of operations is big, and working in collaboration is key to conducting effective patrols independently,” he added. After assuming command of the CTF-151 on…

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The French Marine Nationale ship (FS) Jean Bart has intercepted over 6500 lbs (2900 kg) of illicit drugs on February 12, 2021, in the latest successful Combined Maritime Forces interdiction in the Arabian Sea. After spotting a suspicious dhow and later investigating it using the ship’s Panther helicopter, the crew of the Jean Bart observed multiple packages being thrown overboard. The subsequent search and recovery operation seized 148 parcels containing 6526 lbs (2960 kg) of cannabis resin, known locally as hashish. The total market value of this bust amounts to over $1.5 million. Captain Ouk, commanding officer of the ship said; “I am very proud that Jean Bart and her crew could contribute to the coalition fight against illicit trafficking that feeds international crime and terrorism. This seizure results from the good co-operation amongst Combined Task Force 150 and our good knowledge of this area where French units operate on…

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Deputy Command of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has been formally handed-over by Commodore Dean Bassett to his successor Commodore Ed Ahlgren OBE, in a short ceremony at CMF headquarters in Bahrain, Feb. 10. Commodore Bassett has served as Deputy Commander since June 2019. During his time in Bahrain, he has seen multiple successive anti-narcotics operations, keeping hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of illegal contraband off the streets and disrupting terrorist groups’ financing. Counter-piracy efforts in the CMF Area of Operations continue to provide vital security and reassurance to merchant shipping, and capacity-building efforts in the region continue to thrive. Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Cdre Bassett said; “Our nations have nurtured a shared vision of maritime security, and one of the biggest successes has been learning from each other. Together, we have kept significant amounts of harmful narcotics off the streets, disrupting terrorist groups’ financing and we’ve continued…

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