Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Glen Morris is one of the three Battle Watch assistants working for the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150 in Bahrain, focused on counterterrorism and maritime security operations within the Middle East Region.
He is one of the watch-keepers who maintain a 24 hour watch on the operational area in which warships and aircraft conduct routine patrols on behalf of the task force.
Leading Seaman Morris said they communicated regularly with the assets that operated in direct support to the maritime counterterrorism and security operations task force.
“The ships give us hourly situation reports of their location and what they are seeing,” he said.
“That information in conjunction with intelligence from across multiple agencies allows us to correlate the information into a more coherent picture enabling us to direct the ships toward vessels suspected of being engaged in smuggling activities.
“For us, a successful outcome would be for a boarding of one of these suspect vessels in an effort to locate and seize any illicit material, in turn making an impact on reducing the cash flow of the terrorist networks.”
With 30 different nations comprising Combined Maritime Forces the language barrier can at times be tricky. However, motivated by a common interest, the watch keepers always manage to get their message across.
Leading Seaman Morris said they were the voice of the Commander to the ships and aircraft working hard at sea and watching overhead in the skies.
“Our role is an important one to do and do well – by manning the battle watch headquarters 24/7 we always have somebody ready to direct the ships and answer any questions or queries the ships may have while on patrol,” he said.
“Having staff centralised in an integrated Canadian-Australian headquarters with specialist staff on hand makes it easier for us to answer any queries the ships have.
“Be it operational, intelligence or logistics based – we just have to open the door and ask, while still maintaining the battle watch.”
Combined Task Force 150 is one of three multinational naval task forces operated under CMF. Through maritime security operations, regional engagements and capacity building, the task force works to deter and deny terrorist organisations from using merchant shipping lanes the high seas for smuggling weapons, illicit cargo and narcotics while ensuring the safe passage of merchant ships in some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Combined Task Force 150 is currently undertaking a unique staffing model, consisting of members from the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Canadian Army, the Canadian public service and Royal Australian Navy personnel all integrated in one combined headquarters.