Australian Navy to Join Counterterrorism Ops in the Middle East

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.

The Australians will deploy for five months to Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf alongside 24 Canadian military and civilian personnel.

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.

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.

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Press release, Image: Australian Navy