Smooth Sailing for Combined Task Force 150

Published on CPL Mark Doran (author), CPL Mark Doran (photographer)

Location(s): Manama, Bahrain

(L-R) Royal Canadian Navy officer Captain Bill Quinn, Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) and Royal Australian Navy officer Commander Gerry Savakis, Operations Officer CTF 150, discuss the task force's area of operations during their deployment to the Middle East at the Naval Support Activity in Manama, Bahrain. (photo: CPL Mark Doran)
(L-R) Royal Canadian Navy officer Captain Bill Quinn, Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) and Royal Australian Navy officer Commander Gerry Savakis, Operations Officer CTF 150, discuss the task force's area of operations during their deployment to the Middle East at the Naval Support Activity in Manama, Bahrain.

It’s been smooth sailing for the Australian and Canadian personnel of Combined Task Force 150 as they reach the half-way point of their deployment.
 
Australia assumed command of the task force on 8 December, under the command of Royal Australian Navy Commodore Jaimie Hatcher.
 
Commodore Hatcher leads a team of 28 – 18 Royal Australian Navy, one Australian Army, one Defence civilian and one Australian Federal Police officer – and seven Canadian Navy personnel.
 
Combined Task Force 150 is based at the Naval Support Activity in Manama, Bahrain, and is responsible for counter-terrorism and counter-smuggling operations at sea in the Middle East.
 
Commander Gerry Savvakis, Operations Officer, said the team had settled into a steady battle rhythm.
 
“Our operations have focused on denying the exploitation of the maritime environment in our area of operations by those who perpetrate or enable terrorist acts,” he said.
 
“HMAS Melbourne worked very hard during her deployment and had three narcotics seizures under the latest Australian command of Combined Task Force 150, all which have denied funds for terrorism.”

Combined Task Force 150 is one of several task forces under the control of the Combined Maritime Forces based in Bahrain, which undertakes a range of maritime security operations in the region.
 
It’s area of operations spans 2.5 million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, the North Arabian Sea and Western Indian Ocean. HMAS Darwin recently replaced Melbourne as Australia’s Major Fleet Unit in the region.
 
Commander Savvakis said the US‑led CMF now comprised 31 nations with the recent addition of Iraq as a fully-fledged member of the multi-national force on 2 February 2016.
 
“All the nations contribute to the Combined Forces with either ships, aircraft or personnel to support operations,” he said.
 
“In the recent months we have been working with ships from France, the United States, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and Canada in our combined counter-terrorism effort.”
 
Commander Savvakis said maintaining the relationships and communication was a constant challenge in operations.
 
“We deal with many different cultures and methods of doing business when dealing with people from the 31 nations,” he said.
 
“Our regional engagement helps to promote maritime peace and stability, and enhances the existing level of cooperation between the regional nations and Combined Maritime Forces.”
 
The Australians and Canadians will hand over Combined Task Force 150 to a Royal Navy command in April, 2016. The team will consist of United Kingdom, Canadian and Saudi Arabian personnel.