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Australia takes command of CTF-150

Commodore Gregory Sammut of the Royal Australian Navy has assumed command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) in the Middle East.

CTF-150 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) from a 25-nation coalition based in Bahrain. Its purpose is to help create a lawful and stable maritime environment free from terrorism, smuggling and other illegal activities across an area of two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.

Commodore Sammut relieved Pakistan’s Rear Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi at a special ceremony last month which concluded the Pakistan Navy’s fourth successful command of the CTF-150.

“It is a privilege to be entrusted with Australia’s second command of CTF 150. My team and I look forward to building on the outstanding achievements of Rear Admiral Abbasi and his staff, and working closely alongside our CMF partners and regional friends to promote security and stability throughout the surrounding maritime domain,” said Commodore Sammut.

“It is immensely rewarding to be part of a maritime strategy in which the navies of 25 participating nations operate together for a common purpose.

“We are proud to continue the presence the Royal Australian Navy has maintained in this region since 1990. Through recent times of conflict and peace, our Navy has operated in surrounding waters and ashore, continuously deploying ships, specialist teams and logistical support.”

He said Australia had also shared command of CTF 158, formerly responsible for maritime security within Iraqi territorial waters, and held command of CTF 152, which is now under the leadership of the Gulf States.

“We have forged deep and enduring relationships with regional nations, Combined Maritime Forces, and the United States Navy Central Command, each of which we value and shall uphold during our forthcoming tenure in command of CTF 150,” said Commodore Sammut.

This is the second occasion in which Australia has led CTF-150. Commodore Richard Menhinick RAN was in command between Dec. 16, 2009 and April 15, 2010.

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