A Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 and CTF 151 delegation, led by Commodore Daryl Bates of the Royal Australian Navy, recently met with senior maritime leaders in Djibouti.
The joint CTF 150/151 delegation met the Chief of the Djibouti Navy, Colonel Abdourahman Aden Cher and the Commandant of the Djibouti Coast Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Wais Omar Bogoreh.
Djibouti occupies a strategic geographical position bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, a saltwater highway for the movement of thousands of merchant vessels passaging the Red Sea. Currently, about 50 large merchant ships, carrying 3.4 million barrels of oil, transit the strait every day as they travel between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean and Middle East regions.
In discussion with representatives from the Djiboutian Navy, participants highlighted the national and international economic dependence on maritime security. Commodore Bates, Commander of CTF 150 said: “Without safe sea lanes and secure ports, the economic impact to Djibouti and all countries that rely on the use of her port, or navigate through the adjacent waters would be compromised.
“Our meetings with the Djiboutian Navy and Coast Guard has reaffirmed that our work in the CMF is complementary to that of our regional partners. Djibouti is concerned with the same threats that we are working hard to suppress.
“Despite being a relatively small country, both in size and population, Djibouti is demonstrating that you don’t have to be big to have a very real impact on maritime security. The extraordinary growth of their Coast Guard, planned over the next two years, is testament to Djibouti’s commitment to maintaining a lawful and stable maritime environment, free from criminal activity and the threat of terrorism.
“We are now working in partnership with the Djiboutians, exploring opportunities that will further develop the capacity of their maritime security forces to respond to a common threat. A reduction in piracy incidents is one example of how successful the collaborative efforts of CMF nations and regional states can be.”
While in Djibouti, CTF 150 and 151 representatives took the opportunity to meet with the Deputy Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, Brigadier General Scott Smith, and Commander of the French Forces Djibouti, Brigadier General Joel Rode, to share perspectives on the regional security climate, acknowledging that security efforts need to be coordinated across air, maritime and land borders.
The CTF 150 command element is currently staffed by a team of 25 personnel from the Royal Australian Navy. Its principal mission is to maintain maritime security and deter, disrupt and defeat attempts by international terrorist organisations to use the maritime environment as a venue for an attack or as a means to transport personnel, weapons or other materials.
CTF 151 is commanded by Commodore Aage Buur Jensen of the Royal Danish Navy with a headquarters staff including personnel from Denmark, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia. Its principal mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation.
CTF 150 and CTF 151 are two of three task forces commanded by CMF, a multinational naval partnership of 29 nations, which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.