Seven Royal Australian Navy members left Australia this week to embed with the Combined Maritime Force’s Canadian led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150) in the Middle East.
From December 2014 to April 2015, the Navy team will work in CTF150 to deter, disrupt and defeat international terrorist organisations’ operations in the Middle East maritime region.
Captain Nick Stoker, who will be CTF150’s Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff said the role is an honour for all designated personnel and for the nation.
"CTF150’s mandate is to promote the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment by countering terrorist acts and related illegal activities."
"Over the last year, naval units and partners under CTF150’s command have denied terrorist organisations access to millions of dollars by seizing and destroying tones of illicit cargo," Captain Stoker said.
The Australians will deploy for five months to Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf alongside 24 Canadian military and civilian personnel.
"We will build upon the achievements of previous commands and proudly continue CTF150’s mandate into the next year," Captain Stoker said.
"I am very pleased to accomplish this mission with members of the Royal Canadian Navy, a long time partner of the Royal Australian Navy."
In preparation for the deployment, the Aussies have been planning and corresponding with their Canadian counterparts, culminating recently in the conduct of realistic validation training alongside the 24 other staff members at the Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Centre in Halifax.
The team’s readiness was assessed by Rear Admiral John Newton, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic and Commander Maritime Component Command who said he was deeply impressed with their achievements.
"Without reservation I note your readiness to deploy, motivation to make a difference, and focus on mission success."
"The mission you are embarking on is vital to assuring maritime security in the Arabian Sea region."
"With a considerable record of shared achievement at sea, your joint Canadian and Australian leadership will be felt across the broad and complex maritime environment of the Indian Ocean."
"I wish you fair winds and following seas."
CTF150's area of operation spans over two million square miles covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman, all of which includes some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
Command of the task force is rotated between participatory nations on a four to six month basis, with Pakistan currently at the helm.