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MANAMA, Bahrain–Commodore Dan Charlebois of the Royal Canadian Navy turned over command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) to Capt. Brendon Clark of the Royal New Zealand Navy in a ceremony at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, July 15. CTF-150 is a multinational naval partnership aimed at disrupting terrorist organizations from conducting operations or moving weapons, personnel, or income-generating narcotics and charcoal in the maritime domain of the Arabian Gulf. The ceremony marked the end of a highly successful tour for Charlebois and the Royal Canadian Navy since taking command of the task force in January, 2020. During that time, CTF-150 interdicted 55,605 kg of illicit narcotics, worth an estimated $160 million. Commodore Edward Ahlgren, Deputy Commander CMF, congratulated Charlebois and his crew for their success. “That’s $160 million that will never enter into the pockets of malign forces. Success is never an accident. This kind of success is proof of…

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MANAMA, Bahrain–Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, Commander of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, and U.S. 5th Fleet, praised CMF for “making the region safer and more prosperous” during the 2021 Maritime Security Conference, July 14.  The annual conference was held at CMF headquarters in Bahrain and brought together representatives from CMF’s 34 member nations to discuss the year’s accomplishments in promoting lasting regional maritime security and future opportunities and challenges. “This gathering is such a tremendous opportunity for the members of Combined Maritime Forces to strengthen our partnerships – and in the process continue to make the region safer and more prosperous,” said Cooper. “It’s a privilege to be part of such a vital and unified group.” CMF leads international task forces that counter piracy, protect freedom of navigation from non-state actors, and disrupts the shipment of drugs and illegal arms. For example, in the past year,…

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French Marine Nationale ship FS Languedoc, assigned to Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, seized 902 lbs (409 kg) of heroin worth over $4.3 million dollars during a maritime counter-narcotics operation, June 6.  Within twenty-four hours of entering the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) area of operations, the French frigate identified a potential smuggler and began boarding procedures to identify and seize the illegal drugs, ensuring millions of dollars in proceeds were kept out of the hands of terrorist organizations and other groups who would have used this money to bring harm to others.   “The counter-narcotics operation we conducted on June 6 went very smoothly. The crew’s adaptability, and the support we had from CTF-150, was put to good use to conduct this operation effectively, despite the darkness and rough seas,” said Captain Yves Le Goff, commanding officer of FS Languedoc. “We are proud to have contributed to the fight against illicit…

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Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ship HMCS Calgary conducted three successful counter-narcotics interdictions June 4-7, raising their total to 17 in eight weeks, and setting a record for the most interdictions by a vessel in a single deployment in support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).  Calgary’s final three seizures include 9,160 lbs (4,155 kg) of hashish seized on June 4, and 474 lbs (215 kg) of heroin in two separate interdictions June 6-7. The estimated value of the seizures is over $4.37 million dollars.   “I’m so impressed with the work of HMCS Calgary and all of our international partners in Combined Task Force 150,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of CMF. “Setting the CMF record for maritime interdictions is a credit to the dedication and leadership of Calgary’s crew, and the Royal Canadian Navy.  More importantly, these interdictions resulted in the destruction of…

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The Pakistan Navy handed over command of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) to the Brazilian Navy in a change of command ceremony June 9.  This is the first time the Brazilian Navy has assumed command of CTF 151, a multinational force that counters piracy and protects global maritime commerce across an area encompassing the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, and southern Red Sea. Brazil are CMFs first South American members to undertake a period of command, highlighting CMFs unique role as a regionally focused coalition with a truly global membership.  Rear Admiral André Luiz Andrade Felix, Brazilian Navy, assumed command of CTF 151 from Commodore Abdul Munib SI (M), Pakistan Navy, at a ceremony at CMF Headquarters at Naval Support Activity Bahrain.  Presiding over the event was Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, U.S. Navy, Commander of Combined Maritime Forces, who…

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Combined Maritime Forces’ counter-piracy task force commander, Commodore Abdul Munib SI (M), and the commander of Pakistan’s Navy flotilla in the region, Commodore Khan Muhamad Asif SI (M) visited the U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Force Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) squadron training facility in Bahrain. The Commodores and their teams, including the Commanding Officers of Pakistan ships PNS Alamgir and PNS Azmat received a briefing from PATFORSWA Commanding Officer Captain Willie L. Carmichael before touring the engineering warehouse and the Maritime Engagement Team facility.  The tour included the unique ‘Ship in a Box’ – a 1:1-scale mockup of a dhow inside an environmentally-controlled facility, used to train ships’ boarding teams on Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) procedures. The facility also contains mock up containers of a merchant vessel on which similar procedures are practiced. “This facility provides an excellent opportunity for CMF member nations to train their crew for Maritime Security…

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Canadian and Australian staff from the multinational Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) deployed to the Republic of Seychelles from May 1-14, 2021 to provide training assistance to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).  Their goal was to help build the capacity of regional partners in maritime security operations.  The training involved participants from four nations – Comoros, Kenya, Tanzania, and Seychelles – who took part in both practical and theoretical courses related to Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) as well as Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). The courses included search techniques, legal briefings, equipment and weapons handling, operational planning, safety procedures, practical exercises, and a swimming assessment.  Through their enhanced knowledge and practical training, recipients will be better positioned to contribute to enhanced maritime security and safety of navigation in the East African regional waters.  This is the first time that the multinational task force contributes to…

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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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