The Royal Australian Navy’s multi-product replenishment oiler HMAS Success has been very busy lately, not only delivering vital fuel and other goods to warships operating in the Middle East, but also delivering key operational effects under the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150.
Captain Nick Stoker,Deputy Commander of Combined Task Force 150, said multi-faceted ships, such as Success, could undertake a wide range of missions with great efficiency and flexibility.
“Success, for example, has provided outstanding support to counterterrorism operations so far amidst her primary role as a replenishment oiler under Task Force 53,” he said.
“Recently, she has boarded four suspicious vessels in less than 60 hours so we are definitely privileged to have her contributing to our task force.
“Her flexibility to operate across both logistics support and maritime security roles is testament to her crew members and their ability.”
Success is actively patrolling the Middle East’s busiest waterways in support of maritime security operations.
The ship is helping to ensure security, safety and freedom of movement for commercial shipping in international waters, building positive relations with local fishermen and merchants, and helping to develop understanding of the contemporary maritime environment in the region.
Commanding Officer Success Captain Justin Jones said the ship’s adaptability was key to the ongoing mission in the Middle East.
“These are very interesting times for Success which is demonstrating her adaptability to changing demands,” he said.
“It will not be surprising if we have a replenishment at sea fuel transfer to a Combined Maritime Force ship in the morning, and a verification boarding of a suspect dhow in the afternoon.
“Our team is ready for any eventuality, and has the flexibility to work for different task forces.”
While looking for suspicious activities at sea, the Australian warship maintains regular contact with the Combined Task Force 150 watch floor manned by Australian and Canadian staff, passing information about the pattern of life and maritime traffic to task force watch officers such as Lieutenant James Kerin.
“Our job on the watch floor is to fuse all this information to build one consolidated maritime picture,” Lieutenant Kerin explained.
“We then use that consolidated picture to employ our ships and aircraft in the most effective manner possible.”
The contribution of HMAS Success to Combined Task Force 150 is part of the task force’s current focused efforts to intensify its maritime security and counterterrorism operations in order to deter and disrupt terrorist organisations from making use of the seas to conceal their movements and illicit funding.
Captain Stoker said HMAS Success was working alongside of ships and aircraft from France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States to support Combined Maritime Force’s contribution to regional stability.
“Last year –thanks to the excellent work by warships assigned to the Combined Maritime Force, including HMA Ships Toowoomba and Darwin – Combined Task Force 150 seized and destroyed approximately 21,500 kg of narcotics, denying international terrorist networks access to millions of dollars from illicit trafficking,” Captain Stoker said.
“With the sustained commitment of all 30 Combined Maritime Force contributing nations this year, we are determined to continue this good work throughout 2015.”
Combined Task Force 150 is one of three task forces and is mandated to promote a lawful and stable maritime environment free from terrorism, smuggling and other illegal activities across an area of two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
Canada is currently in command of Combined Task Force 150, with seven Australian Navy members fully integrated to the headquarters staff.