Commodore Daryl Bates has assumed command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) from Commodore Asif Khaliq of the Pakistan Navy on December 1 at a ceremony on board the Pakistan Navy Ship Shahjahan in Bahrain.
In a gracious speech, Commodore Khaliq highlighted the successes of his team and the units under his command – which included a 182 kilogram heroin seizure by the Canadian frigate Toronto worth an estimated $150 million – before he wished the Australian team following him “fair winds and following seas”.
On assuming command, Commodore Bates said it was a privilege to lead the fifth Australian Command of CTF 150 and acknowledged the successes of Commodore Khaliq’s team, both at sea and in their active engagement with regional navies.
“I have always been fascinated with the Middle East region - a part of the world steeped in history and culture,” Commodore Bates said.
“It is also a region of significant challenges and complexities and one which relies on the collective efforts of many navies to ensure the maritime environment is safe for all mariners, safe to undertake the lawful activities at sea.”
During the course of Australia’s fifth command of CTF 150, Commodore Bates and his team will plan and execute operations involving a range of ships and aircraft from Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) member nations across an area of two and half million square miles of international waters, including the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
CTF 150 is one of three task forces operated by the Combined Maritime Forces, a 29-nation coalition headquartered in Bahrain. CTF 151 is focused on counter-piracy operations and CTF 152 is focused on maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.
CTF 150 is responsible for maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements. The Task Force works closely with coalition partners and regional nations to bring stability and confidence to the region to maintain safe passage to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20132387.