South Australian commands maritime security task force

Published on LCDR Ken Browning (author)

Topic(s): Operation SLIPPER

Commodore Daryl Bates at Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters in Bahrain. (photo: Unknown)
Commodore Daryl Bates at Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters in Bahrain.

Adelaide-born and bred, Commodore Daryl Bates is currently having great success commanding a maritime security task force in the Middle East and Indian Ocean regions.

Commodore (CDRE) Bates, current commander of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) based in Bahrain, grew up in Adelaide, went to school at Marion High School and has very fond memories of his childhood in the Plympton area.

He joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1976 at the age of 15 and commenced officer training as a cadet midshipman.

“My parents tell me I had a passion for the sea from a very young age. I think I always wanted to join the Navy and sadly that meant moving away from South Australia, but I have always tried to keep a connection back there,” CDRE Bates said.

Since assuming command of CTF 150 in December 2013, Commodore Bates and the 24 Australians that form his headquarters have commanded operations that have resulted in the seizure of 1362 kilograms of pure heroin off the Tanzanian/Kenyan/Somali Coasts, over 5000 kilograms of hashish intercepted near Oman, Eritrea and Yemen and 24 kilograms of methamphetamine seized of the coast of Oman. These narcotics are estimated to have a combined Australian street value of approximately $1.8 billion.

Combined Task Force 150 is one of three task forces operating under the Combined Maritime Forces, a 30-nation coalition based in Bahrain.

Commodore Bates has had many proud moments since joining the Navy, including commanding the frigate HMAS Sydney during a Middle East deployment in 2001-2002 and commanding the Navy’s mine hunting and clearance diving group.

Among his many accolades, Commodore Bates was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2000 in recognition for his service as Chief of Staff to the naval component of the International Force in East Timor between 1999 to 2000.

While service requirements have kept Commodore Bates both Sydney and Canberra-based in recent years, he still has a great fondness for South Australia.

“Like so many, my immediate family all did the ‘bomb burst’ from Adelaide in my younger years.

“Nowadays, all except me have now returned home. My Mum and Dad, as well as my two brothers, have returned to Adelaide, and my sister has settled in the Barossa. Even my son has seen the light and relocated from Sydney to Adelaide.

“I return home regularly to see both my family and the many close friends I have there, including several old school mates.”

“There have been many great times in my career and, indeed, I’m still loving it!

“The stand-out is undoubtedly the opportunity to work with a cadre of very fine men and women who form Australia’s Defence Force.”

CTF 150’s area of responsibility spans over 2.5 million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.

The CTF 150 mandate is to promote security and stability in the maritime environment through maritime security operations and engagement with regional nations and other maritime users.

Maritime security operations deny international terrorists the use of the seas as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other illicit material used to aid or fund their activities.