The UK is to lead a joint maritime force to deter piracy, tackle terrorism, and disrupt smuggling.
Combined Task Force 150 is a multinational coalition naval task force working under the 25-nation coalition of Combined Maritime Forces and is based in Bahrain established to monitor, inspect, board, and stop suspect shipping to pursue the “Global War on Terrorism” and in the Horn of Africa region.
Countries presently contributing to CTF-150 include Pakistan, Canada, Denmark,France, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other nations who have participated include Australia, Italy, India, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and Turkey.
The command of the task force rotates among the different participating navies, with commands usually lasting between four and six months. The task force usually comprises 14 or 15 ships. CTF-150 is coordinated by the Combined Maritime Forces, a 25-nation coalition operating from Bahrain.
Speaking in Qatar today Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“The UK has one of the strongest navies in the world and we are looking forward to leading this important joint force.
This underlines our commitment to working with allies to fight Daesh and tackle terrorism across the region.”
Mr Fallon made the announcement on board HMS Defender, the Type 45 Destroyer currently patrolling the Gulf. He went on to describe his belief that the permanent presence of the Royal Navy in the Middle East helps to keep maritime trade flowing and safeguards the UK economy by countering piracy and policing the flow of oil and gas into our ports.
Leading CTF150 will see the UK alongside international partners, including countries that make up the 31 nation Combined Maritime Forces. CTF150 vessels will also assist mariners in distress and undertake humanitarian work as required.