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NZDF takes command of Maritime Combined Task Force

New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel have assumed command of Bahrain-based Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), a multi-national task force conducting security operations in the maritime domain of the Arabian Gulf.

19 July, 2021

CTF-150 is a task force of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a multi-national maritime partnership which promotes security, stability and prosperity across approximately 8.3 million square kilometres of international waters, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes. 

The maritime security operations aim to prevent criminal and terrorist organisations from carrying out their work and moving people, weapons, and income-generating narcotics.

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said the NZDF was making an important contribution to the international rules-based order.

“As a maritime nation, New Zealand understands the importance of preserving maritime security and freedom of navigation. Working together with our partners in CTF-150, our mission is to counter transnational organised crime and the movement of narcotics used to fund terrorism,” Rear Admiral Gilmour said.

The NZDF Maritime Component Commander, Commodore Mat Williams, said the personnel involved were well prepared for their roles in CTF-150. 

“This is the first time New Zealand has taken command of CTF-150,  although our personnel have held various roles in this task force. New Zealand has also previously commanded CTF-151, which is charged with countering piracy in the region,” he said.

“Our level of leadership and training means we’re able to operate effectively with our international partners. Everyone will be focused on restricting movements at sea by criminal and terrorist elements who seek to do harm.”

The New Zealand-led multinational team has taken over command of CTF-150 from Canada.

Since January, under Canada’s command, the task force has led a total of 34 counter-narcotics seizures. These operations seized a record haul of 55,605kg of illicit narcotics with an estimated value of more than $US160 million which would have otherwise contributed to the financing of regional terrorist and criminal organisations.

Royal New Zealand Navy Captain Brendon Clark said it was an honour and a privilege to assume command of CTF-150 and lead women and men from the New Zealand Defence Force, the Australian and Singaporean Navies and the United States Coast Guard.

“A diverse and multi-national staff with different thoughts, beliefs, approaches and culture truly embodies the values of a combined maritime force,” he said.

He congratulated the Canadian-led task force on achieving outstanding results during their time in theatre.

Their actions in seizing narcotics and preventing illegal trade and activities that fund terrorism had deterred illicit activity within the area of operations and thereby improved the overall prosperity, security and stability within this region.

“My aim is to ensure that we build upon the Canadian successes, continuing the good work so that we too may set the conditions for Pakistan to succeed when they take command in early 2022,” he said.