Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) continues to conduct operations in the Red Sea, Bab el Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden. The third phase of the current operation began recently. CTF-150 often rotates vessels and commands; the current operation is being led by the French. The first two phases were focused on planning and organization, and this final phase is all about execution.
One of the main focuses of this operation is to integrate local navies in patrols. Joined by the Yemeni Coast Guard and the Djiboutian Navy, CTF-150 has further boosted its assets. The French commander leading the operation said of this development: “This operation shows and reinforces the interoperability that already exists between the different navies engaged under the CTF 150 banner and the forces of the region. The coordination has exceeded the framework of the traditional meetings of planning to establish common trainings. We have done several replenishments at sea with the patrol ships of the Yemeni coast guards and navy and the frigate HMS Kent. This successful escalation enables the launching of the operation in good terms.”
Joining ships from France, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom are regional contributions from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Djibouti. These ships are playing a full role in the operation.
The increased coordination and cooperation will result in more knowledge-sharing between international powers and those more familiar with the specifics of the region. The mutual benefit will aid the global fight against terror and piracy, and will also help these local countries increase their maritime security presence.
Soon, civilian merchant vessels will begin participating in CTF-150 operations, further diversifying the assets available to the force. Of this development, the commander said, “These operations will enable my Task Force to reinforce the links that unite CMF and the different maritime nations in the zone. It will improve the interoperability of CTF 150 assets with the Djiboutian and Yemeni coastal navies and contribute to maritime security in one the most frequented maritime waterways in the world.”
The French Navy is beginning its third month as the leader of the task force. CTF-150 has been operating in the region since 2004, first established to support efforts against the war on terror, and stop any ships associated with such trans-national organizations. Since the piracy epidemic began in the latter half of the decade, much of the force’s focus has shifted to counter-piracy operations and securing these heavily traveled waters for merchant vessels.