New Zealander to Be Commander of Combined Task Force 151

Captain Jim Gilmour has relieved Republic of Singapore Navy Rear Admiral Harris Chan Weng Yip as Commander Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, during a Change of Command ceremony onboard USS MASON berthed in Djibouti. It is the first time that a Royal New Zealand Naval Officer has commanded a major multinational task force in recent decades. Two NZ Defence Force staff officers will support CAPT Gilmour in his role as Commander of CTF 151; a coalition task force which disrupts piracy, protects maritime vessels and secures freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden and Somali basin region. New Zealand is impacted by piracy, even far from our shores. This deployment demonstrates NZ Defence Force’s commitment to protecting security and stability in the international maritime environment. Upon taking command of the task force, CAPT Gilmour paid tribute to his predecessor. “My team and I are looking forward to the challenge of commanding this task force’s vital mission and carrying on the excellent work of my predecessor, Rear Admiral Chan and his very talented team.Over 23,000 vessels transit through the Gulf of Aden and Somali basin annually and the risk of piracy in this region is very real. However, since CTF 151 was established there has been a significant reduction in the number of successful piracy attacks,” says CAPT Gilmour. CTF 151 is one of three task forces operated by US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 25-nation coalition based in Bahrain. CTF 151’s operations focus on the Gulf of Aden and Somali basin, an area encompassing 1.1 million square miles. NZ Defence Force’s previous contributions to counter piracy have been recognised with the request by US-led CMF to fulfil the command role for CTF 151 “I will be leading a multinational team with personnel from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Canada until late September. “We have brought together a high-performing team, capable of commanding a task force of coalition maritime assets as CMF continues to achieve tangible positive effects in protecting regional and global trade,” adds CAPT Gilmour. [mappress] Source: navy, July 4, 2011; Image:paknavy