Combined Task Force end of rotation

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Sebastian Beurich (author)

Location(s): Bahrain

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, Change of Command, Counter-terrorism, Deployment

(From left) U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Royal Canadian Navy and Marine Nationale (French Navy) officials salute during the Combined Task Force 150 Transfer of Authority ceremony held on 13 April 2017. (photo: Supplied)
(From left) U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Royal Canadian Navy and Marine Nationale (French Navy) officials salute during the Combined Task Force 150 Transfer of Authority ceremony held on 13 April 2017.

Royal Australian Navy personnel embedded in the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150 in the Middle East have completed a highly successful counter-terrorism deployment and are heading home.

Eight Australian personnel, deployed as part of Operation MANITOU, were embedded in the headquarters which had a hand in intercepting more than 1,300 kilograms of hashish and around 270 kilograms of heroin used to fund illegal activities.

Deputy Commander of the Task Force Captain Paul Scott said his joint Canadian and Australian command team’s ability to work together well directly influenced the success of the task force.

“Alongside Australia’s team of eight, there were 28 staff members from the Canadian Armed Forces and two Canadian Government civilians who formed the headquarters in Bahrain as part of the larger Combined Maritime Forces,” he said.

“We arrived at the task force in early December last year, and the team didn’t waste any time in getting to work.

“Less than two weeks after our arrival, we had stood up our first focused operation.

“The operation saw several ships, multiple maritime patrol aircraft and several shore-based helicopters from a number of nations working as a harmonised force.”

Captain Scott said the drugs were destined for Africa and would have been used to fund terrorism operations around the world.

“Our team performed exceptionally, each one of them made a valuable contribution, and I’m sure we all made some life-long friends during our deployment.”

Lieutenant Natasha Callan, a Battle Watch Captain, led Navy’s resilience campaign away from home and motivated her colleagues to maintain fitness levels in their limited downtime outside of the office. 

“Some of our people participated in fun runs and some even ran a half marathon,” Lieutenant Callan said.

“We also had a sports day, which we used as an opportunity to raise funds to support Soldier On.”

During her deployment, Lieutenant Callan had the opportunity to complete a tour to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as a liaison officer.

“The opportunity to train staff from the Tanzanian People’s Defence Force Navy was a personally and professionally rewarding experience,” Lieutenant Callan said.

Combined Task Force 150 is a multinational task force which promotes maritime security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman, an area spanning more than five million square kilometres.

The Task Force performs these duties to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements in the region.

This is the eighth rotation of the task force command Australia has been involved in under Operations SLIPPER and MANITOU.