Royal Australian Navy Commodore Jaimie Hatcher assumed command of CTF 150 from Rear Admiral Muhammad Moazzam Ilyas SI(M), of the Pakistan Navy at a ceremony at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain on 8 December 2015.
On assuming command, Commodore Hatcher said it was a privilege to lead the seventh rotation of Australians who deployed to the Middle East Region for the mission as part of Operation MANITOU.
He acknowledged the successes of Rear Admiral Moazzam Ilyas’s team, both at sea and in their active engagement with regional Navies.
“Upon the impressive operational platform laid by Rear Admiral Ilyas and his predecessors, our mission will be to further degrade the use of the maritime environment by terrorists and those who support terrorism in the Middle East and west Indian Ocean maritime regions,” CDRE Hatcher said.
“Operating within a diverse group of nations in the Combined Maritime Forces is a privilege and there is much we are able to learn from each other.”
CDRE Hatcher will lead a team of 20 Australians — 17 Royal Australian Navy, one Australian Army, one Defence civilian and one Australian Federal Police officer — and seven Canadian Navy personnel, for five months of operations in the 30-nation Combined Maritime Forces in Bahrain.
His team will plan and execute operations involving a range of ships and aircraft from the US‑led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) member nations across an area of 2.5 million square miles of international waters, including the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
CTF 150 is one of three task forces operated by the Combined Maritime Forces, a 30-nation coalition headquartered in Bahrain. CTF 151 is focused on counter-piracy operations and CTF 152 is focused on maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.
The principal mission of CTF 150 is to suppress the exploitation of the maritime environment by those who perpetrate or enable terrorist acts.
Australia has maintained a naval ship presence in the Middle East since the first Gulf War in 1990 with HMAS Melbourne currently deployed on Maritime Security Operations in the region.
Imagery is available on the Defence image gallery at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20153504
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